Exercise after Laparotomy

Laparotomy recovery exercises

Exercise after Laparotomy

Rest and exercise after Laparotomy

Recovery time after Laparotomy surgery is approximately one month. During this time you have to avoid lifting and carrying heavy loads (maximum 1-2kg).

You should avoid excessive pushing, pulling or stretching. Women should avoid heavy housework such as vacuuming, ironing; mopping floors etc., for up to 12 weeks after your operation (do not carry more than a three pint kettle) so accept help from others when it is offered. You can do light household duties such as dusting and making a cup of tea.

During the recovery time, use the elastic abdominal support belt. If you get any other advice how to use the support belt, follow it.

Before you sit up, put the support belt on and use it when you walk around.

During the recovery time turn to your side before you sit up and avoid straining your abdominal muscle.

You will continue to feel tired so it is important to rest when you can and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. Some exercise is important because sitting for long periods can cause ankle and foot swelling and can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (clots in the veins of the legs).  

Read more about : Exploratory Laparotomy

Walking is the best exercise after surgery. It helps you recover from surgery and regain your previous condition. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed and try to maintain good posture even if wound might feel tight.

It’s highly recommended to walk daily, extend the walking distance gradually.

Read more about : What is Laparoscopic Surgery?

After 2 weeks of surgery you can start exercises for the internal abdominal muscles. The purpose of this exercise is to regain the function of abdominal muscles and to prevent wound hernia. You should do this exercise 5 – 6 days a week.

Take supine position with knees flexed and arms on your sides. Lift your head during exhale and lay it back during inhale. Repeat exercise at the pace of your normal breathing 3 x 5 – 15 times.

After 2 weeks of surgery you can also start light stretching for the abdominal muscles. The purpose of this exercise is to restore the elasticity of the abdominal muscles and prevent tension of scar tissue. Stretches should be done after the abdominal muscle exercise (5 – 6 days a week).

Take supine position with arms on your sides. Lift arms over your head during inhale and move them back to starting position during exhale. Repeat exercise at the pace of your normal breathing 3 x 2 – 5 times.

After 6 weeks of surgery you can start exercises for the external abdominal muscles. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

Take supine position with knees flexed and arms crossed over your chest. Arch your upper back during exhale. Your head, shoulders and upper back should rise up from the surface. Relax your muscles and return back to starting position during inhale. Repeat exercise at the pace of your normal breathing 3 x 5 – 15 times.

You can return to your previous activities after 1 – 2 months.

10 common questions about Laparotomy recovery exercises

1How long after a laparotomy can I exercise?
The patient is alerted to over-activity by pain in the scar, and as a result the advice given by most surgeons, for their own as much as the patient's safety, is not to exercise for six weeks. Depending on the amount of pressure under which the scar is put, some people are able to exercise successfully earlier.
2How long does it take to heal after a laparotomy?
Recuperation time following laparotomy is usually six weeks, but may vary depending on whether other procedures are performed at the same time. As with any post-operative recovery, it is important to always consult your doctor
3How long does it take to recover from major abdominal surgery?
Depending on your state of health, it can be shorter or longer. An average time length that a lot of people say with an abdominal incision is about one to two months or even just six weeks to where you really want to let it heal and you try not to put too much pressure on your abdomen during that time.
4What exercises can I do after surgery?
In many cases, your surgeon may want you to start doing gentle stretching exercises, such as shoulder rolls or arm circles 2 or 3 days after surgery. Until you have your surgeon's OK, don't do any strenuous exercise such as high-impact aerobics, jogging, swimming, or lifting weights
5Is a laparotomy a major surgery?
A laparotomy is a surgical procedure through an opening (that is larger than that used for laparoscopy) into the abdomen. A laparotomy is normally used when a laparoscopy cannot be done effectively. ... The risk of developing a problem that is related to having a laparotomy is low compared to other major surgery.
6Is laparotomy considered major surgery?
Laparotomy Versus Laparoscopy Another name for this common surgery is a coeliotomy. ... The traditional procedure--laparotomy-- is often referred to as an "open" procedure, because the incision makes an opening that allows the surgeon to visualize the organs, blood vessels, and tissues in the abdominal cavity.
7How long do you stay in hospital after a laparotomy?
How long you will need to stay in the hospital will depend on the reason you needed the laparotomy, your treatments, and how well you recover. This is often 5 to 10 days after you have the procedure.
8How long does it take for internal stitches to heal?
Absorbable sutures vary widely in both strength and how long they will take for your body to reabsorb them. Some types dissolve as quickly as 10 days, while other types can take about six months to dissolve
9How can I reduce my stomach fat?
20 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat (Backed by Science) Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber. ... Avoid Foods That Contain Trans Fats. ... Don't Drink Too Much Alcohol. ... Eat a High-Protein Diet. ... Reduce Your Stress Levels. ... Don't Eat a Lot of Sugary Foods. ... Do Aerobic Exercise (Cardio) ... Cut Back on Carbs, Especially Refined Carbs.
10How long does laparotomy swelling last?
Your Recovery You will probably notice that your belly is swollen and puffy. This is common. The swelling will take several weeks to go down. You may take 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.


  1. Denver Benítez says:

    this is an importane fact, i love football and I just had Laparotomy. still at the hospitale and can you tell when I could go back and do mia football. i run fast i am joung and can not rest on bed. tell me how long?

    • Iranian Surgery Adviser says:

      Hi, we are the Iranian Surgery Team and like football too. However, you should consider your health right now and do as your physicians say Denver.
      After laparotomy, You should strive to sit out of bed twofold a day, at first for one hour then slowly improving the time each day. The best exercise after laparotomy is walking and it has to start on the first day after your surgery. The physiotherapy attendants could help you until you are able to walk safely, alone. But normally, The patient (like you) is warned of their over-activity by their pain in the belly, and as a consequence, the guidance given by surgeons, for the patient’s safety, is not to exercise for six weeks. Relying on the portion of pressure under which the scar is, some individuals can start to exercise (football in your case) much earlier.

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