Large bowel resection - discharge
You had surgery to remove all or part of your large intestine (large bowel). You may also have had a colostomy. This article describes what to expect after surgery and how to take care of yourself at home.
Ascending colectomy - discharge; Descending colectomy - discharge; Transverse colectomy - discharge; Right hemicolectomy - discharge; Left hemicolectomy - discharge; Hand assisted bowel surgery - discharge; Low anterior resection - discharge; Sigmoid colectomy - discharge; Subtotal colectomy - discharge; Proctocolectomy - discharge; Colon resection - discharge; Laparoscopic colectomy - discharge; Colectomy - partial - discharge; Abdominal perineal resection - discharge; Colon cancer - bowel resection discharge
When You're in the Hospital
During and after surgery, you received intravenous (IV) fluids. You also may have had a tube placed through your nose and into your stomach. You may have received antibiotics.
What to Expect at Home
You may have these problems after you return home from the hospital:
Follow your health care provider's instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
Your provider will give you pain medicines to take at home.
Press a pillow over your incision when you need to cough or sneeze. This helps ease pain.
Ask your provider when you should start taking your regular medicines again after surgery.
If your staples or sutures have been removed, you will probably have small pieces of tape placed across your incision. These pieces of tape will fall off on their own. If your incision was closed with dissolving suture, you may have glue covering the incision. This glue will loosen and come off on its own. Or, it can be peeled off after a few weeks.
Ask your provider when you can shower or soak in a bathtub.
If you have a dressing, your provider will tell you how often to change it and when you can stop using it.
DO NOT wear tight clothing that rubs against your wound while it is healing. Use a thin gauze pad over it to protect it if needed.
If you have a colostomy, follow care instructions from your provider. Sitting on a pillow may make you more comfortable if the surgery was in your rectum.
Eat small amounts of food several times a day. DO NOT eat 3 big meals.
Some foods may cause gas, loose stools, or constipation as you recover. Avoid foods that cause problems.
If you become sick to your stomach or have diarrhea, call your provider.
Ask your provider how much fluids you should drink each day to prevent getting dehydrated.
If you have hard stools:
Returning to Work
Return to work only when you feel ready. These tips may help:
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have any of the following:
Mahmoud NN, Bleier JIS, Aarons CB, Paulson EC, Shanmugen S, Fry RD. Colon and rectum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 51.
Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M. Perioperative care. In: Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold ML, eds. Clinical Nursing Skills: Basic to Advanced Skills. 9th ed. New York, NY: Pearson; 2016:chap 26.
Review Date: 9/3/2018
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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