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5 Things You Need to Know About Post-Appendectomy Care

5 Things You Need to Know About Post-Appendectomy Care 5 Things You Need to Know About Post-Appendectomy Care 5 Things You Need to Know About Post-Appendectomy Care

1. Inspect Incision Often

If you're recovering from an appendectomy, the surgery to remove an inflamed or infected appendix, follow your doctor's orders carefully. Most people recover quickly and uneventfully, but there are things to watch out for. Look at your incision site often and pay attention to any signs of infection. It's normal for your incision site to look a bit pink and slightly puffy and feel tender. But watch out for drainage coming from the cut, bright redness or excessive swelling around the incision. These may be signs of infection.

2. Fever Is a Sign of Trouble

Part of post-appendectomy care includes watching for signs of fever. Occasionally, though rarely, pelvic abscesses (pus pockets of infection) or abscesses in the lower abdominal area may form following an appendectomy. You may receive a list of post-op care instructions from your doctor following your appendectomy operation. Fever is always something to watch for following any type of operation. Call your doctor if you start running a fever over 99.4 degrees F., especially if it's accompanied by severe pain and/or vomiting.

3. No Heavy Lifting

While you are recovering from your surgery, you must not lift anything that weighs over 15 pounds. Heavy lifting puts too much strain on your lower abdomen and your abdominal muscles. Strain on your lower abdomen may rupture the repairs your surgeon accomplished on the inside while the tissues and muscles are healing. Heaving lifting may also pop the stitches in your incision.

4. Avoid Repetitive Activities, Including Driving

Most doctors order limited activity following an appendectomy for at least 3 weeks. This includes no driving because of medications you may be taking. You must not do any strenuous activities, including anything that requires repetitive motions, including such things as pressing the foot pedals while driving a vehicle and bending up and down getting pots and pans out of low cabinets in your kitchen.

5. Pillow Talk

Keep a pillow handy at all times while you are recovering from an appendectomy. Use the pillow to splint your abdomen when you cough or sneeze. Press the pillow firmly against your lower abdomen (across your incision area) until your coughing or sneezing fit passes. This not only helps you comfort-wise by minimizing pain from the strain of coughing and sneezing, but it also helps prevent popping stitches. You may also want to press a pillow against your lower abdomen when you get up and down, at least for the first couple of days.

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