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.