Relief of pain

The local anaesthetic that you have had will wear off in the next 1 to 2 hours.

Provided you do not have an allergy or to the painkiller, it is safe to use over-the-counter painkillers to reduce your pain so you can be more active.

It is important to use painkillers carefully, as they have side effects. Paracetamol is the simplest and safest painkiller. However, always get advice before taking paracetamol if you have liver or kidney problems

You could also try anti-inflammatory tablets like Ibuprofen as long as you don’t have a condition (such as a stomach ulcer) that prevents you using them.

Always take your painkillers at regular intervals at the recommended dose / exactly as prescribed. This is to make sure they work as well as possible for you. The aim is for pain control to be constant.

Putting off taking painkillers can make the pain more severe. It may then take longer to get it under control when you do take them. If over-the-counter painkillers do not work, ask for help from your GP or pharmacist.

Changing position and using a pillow to support the wound can help reduce discomfort.

Please do not use a hot water bottle as this can lead to scalding of the skin. 

Check with your GP if you have been prescribed other analgesia.


You will need to book an appointment with the practice nurse well in advance of needing stitches removed or dressings renewed.

If you are concerned about discomfort when the stitches are removed or having the dressing looked at, consider taking a simple pain relief, e.g. paracetamol, an hour before your appointment.

Remember once the stitches have been removed / absorbed the wound may appear healed but it will not be strong. It can take several months for skin to regain its strength and flexibility. Treat the area with care.

A greasy ointment, e.g. Vaseline, can be applied after removal of the dressing to prevent crusting.


If you have clear, waterproof dressings you can shower after 48 hrs. Do not have a bath, use soap, bath oil or talcum powder for the first week.

You may remove the dressings after five days and leave the wound exposed.

Specific advice

You can now eat a normal diet.

You may experience bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea.


  • Your abdominal muscles help to protect your back during strenuous activities and lifting. These muscles might be weak after your operation and you will need to be vigilant about lifting and carrying objects
    • No heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks
    • No strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks
  • You can drive after one week (2 weeks if open surgery) if you are able to perform an emergency stop safely and without pain. Start with short journeys


  • Return of the original symptoms
  • Severe or increased pain
  • Wound is red, hot, painful and swollen
  • Fluid leaking from wound
  • Gaping wound
  • Temporary difficulty in passing urine
  • Persistent sickness or vomiting
  • Yellow skin or whites of eyes with dark urine and pale stools.

If you are concerned about any of the above, see your practice nurse promptly, taking this leaflet with you.


The operation site will be checked for bleeding before you leave the department.

If bleeding occurs at home, do not disturb the dressing. Press firmly on the area, for a full 15 minutes (by a clock). Do not take the dressing off, you will need to put an additional “pressure dressing” on top of the original.

If bleeding persists you will need to visit your practice nurse or local Emergency Department for assessment. A clean dressing will be provided once bleeding has settled if this is necessary.

Be vigilant for bleeding if you take anticoagulants, e.g. Aspirin or Warfarin.

Post anaesthetic instructions

  • You must be accompanied home by a responsible adult age 18 year +
  • You must not be left alone for 48 hours
  • Do not lock the bathroom or toilet door for the next 48 hours.
  • No alcohol or sleeping tablets for 48 hours.
  • No using anything that could potentially cause harm, such as machinery, kettle, cooker or iron for the next 48 hours.
  • No driving for at least 1 week (laparoscopic surgery)  2 weeks (open surgery)  You must be able to do an emergency stop safely.
  • No signing legal documents for 48 hours

No looking after young children alone for 48 hours.

Ref: 04/21/07
Review: 07/23