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Anyone had a laparotomy with a vertical (midline) incision? Can I ask something?

(31 Posts)
Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 18:18:02

I am due to have a laparotomy in a month's time and have been told I will probably require a midline incision. I am having a very large ovarian cyst removed (it measures as a 28 week pregnancy!). I have been told that I will need a five day stay in hospital and then it will take 8 weeks to recover in full. I am due to go on holiday two weeks after the op. Where due to be going to Dorset to stay in a cottage and, most importantly, visit a lovely MNer from our postnatal thread. I am not planning on running on the beach or horse riding up hills while away so will be able to totally relax. If anyone has any experience of this op, will I be able to go or will I be totally bed bound?

TIA.

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 18:21:38

Hmm. I had a hysterectomy a year ago and I don't think I could have gone away two weeks later. The car journey itself will be really uncomfortable let alone being in a different place.

I think midline surgery takes longer to recover from too, because of the way they cut through the muscle but I'm not exactly sure.

Can you postpone it at all?

Katymac Thu 18-Jun-09 18:23:05

My mum has

She says she would worry about the journey rather than the holiday

She had a similar op 14 weeks or so ago and she still is sore in the car for journeys

Watch what clothes you wear post op acorss your waist

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 18:23:19

Guadalupe - I did wonder about the car journey. I would postpone but the bloody thing is growing by the day. Also the doctor told me not to postpone so I think I should do as I am told! Bugger. Thank you for the info.

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 18:25:38

Thank you Katy, and thank your mum too. smile
Might have to have a rethink.

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 18:29:45

I meant postpone the holiday!!

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 18:38:23

Also, I think the fact that you have a five day stay in hospital means it's quite a heavy duty op. I was only in for two days after my hysterectomy and that was a lengthway scar.

It could be nice to be away, but I think that with the journey and not knowing how you will feel - remember GA can have a funny effect for a while, it might be a waste of a holiday that you would enjoy much more later. I reckon you'll just want your own bed and space for a few weeks.

Good luck with it. smile

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 18:43:04

Guadalupe - Doh! Silly me! That is pretty much what I thought to be honest. DH was insistent that I would be ok, but I thought I probably wouldn't be. Now, all I need to do is work out how I can carry on bfing 8 month old dd.....!

Again, thanks for your help.

AuntieMaggie Thu 18-Jun-09 18:48:23

I had surgery like this - what you have to remember is they are cutting through layers of muscle and stuff and mucking around with your insides in order to do the job, so while the scar on the outside may heal quickly the internal "injuries" will last longer.

I would postpone the holiday if it's much of a drive.

Take it easy after your op and follow the advice and don't overdo it, which is really easy to do.

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 18:50:52

I have had two c-sections and was in Bluewater with a ten day old baby after each one, so I think DH I may have been a bit blasé about it.

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 18:54:39

Be firm with your dh. It's really important you recover properly, and like AuntieMaggie says, it's very easy to overdo it and this can set you right back. If you end up with bad adhesions you could need more surgery.

I was still bf ds who was a bit over a year when I had mine. It was a quite uncomfortable at first but you find a position that works best. Obviously you'll need to sort out some other milk while you're in but you can feed when they visit and this will help with any engorgement.

ABetaDad Thu 18-Jun-09 18:58:23

DW had one to remove an ovary and cancerous plaques. It knocked the stuffing out of her and she lost a lot of weight.

You will not be ready for anything but the most gentle activity and even then you will be unpredictably but routinely tired and need to go to bed during the day for several weeks. IF DW's experience is anything to go by, I would say 8 weeks is a realistic timescale for recovery.

I see you are BF an 8 month old and that will take literally all your energy. DW was told to lift nothing. Can you get some physical help with DD? You need advice on that from the hospital.

How quick you actually recover will depend on your general health and fitness. I would postpone the holiday.

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 18:58:47

I was shopping 11 days after a section with dd too. It's really not the same as there is much more internal damage, and it is different with a vertical cut.

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 19:45:04

Thanks guys. I have a stock of frozen EBM that is good until late August so DH should be ok at night. Do the drugs not mean you can't bf? I am feeling very sorry for myself at the moment, I think I need to do some shopping and eat some chocolate.

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 20:02:47

Tell them you are breastfeeding and they will give you the appropriate drugs. I was really worried about this too but apparently the GA doesn't stay long in your system and you can have morphine and codeine and then paracetomol.

I'm not surprised you feel sorry for yourself, it's a big deal. Make sure you allow time to think things over and have plenty of treats. Definitely eat that chocolate!

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 20:11:50

Thank you again Guadalupe. I probably wouldn't have thought of that, duh again!

Forgot to say - ABetaDad - I will indeed have help, DH has been on to personnel already! Hijacking own thread - I have always wanted to know, is the Beta a reference to Beta factors?

Sidge Thu 18-Jun-09 20:37:45

I've nursed loads of people post-laparotomies and it takes quite a while to recover. Not only do you have a pretty huge wound to heal, the main abdominal muscles are cut through lengthways weakening your back and abdomen. Movement will be sore and difficult and it will take a while to even be moving normally.

Remember also that they will be jiggling around your bowels, so you may not be pooing normally for some time, coupled with healing abs which makes pooing harder.

I think the car journey will be very uncomfortable; you may need to stop at least hourly to move around. Lifting will be banned and you won't be able to drive.

I would advise thinking about rescheduling your holiday. The last thing you would want is to go away, do too much and end up with post-op complications like a non-healing wound or anaemia, as well as being far from home and far from a medical team that knows your history.

Stay at home and be spoilt!

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 20:43:58

Oh, hello. smile

Listen to Sidge, she gave me very good advice before my op. (Was MrsC) I think we talked a lot about poo then too!

Marthasmama Thu 18-Jun-09 20:49:14

I remember the poo issue as I had a laparoscopy to remove a smaller cyst four years ago. That messed up my poor old bowel too!

Sidge, While I have an expert here, how would a midline incision affect any future pregnancies? The consultant is planning to leave everything intact (if possible) because of my age and we do want another baby ideally (if this ends up not being possible, then so be it).

Sidge Thu 18-Jun-09 20:51:07

Why thank you Guadalupe/MrsC!

How are you doing now? It must be a while since your op?

(Apologies for the poo obsession - years working on an abdominal surgical ward meant I became slightly poo-obsessed! blush)

ABetaDad Thu 18-Jun-09 20:51:29

Marthasmama - great to hear you will get help. You will need it. Sidge is obviously the real nursing expert here and what she said rings a lot of bells. It is exactly what DW was told word for word by her nurse. No use thinking you can be standing cooking for hours or cleaning the house hauling vacuum cleaners up stairs either after a few weeks. Keep well and rest. smile

BETA is a play on words. 'BetaDad' (i.e I am not an alpha male) and 'BetterDad' (i.e something I would really like to try and be).

Guadalupe Thu 18-Jun-09 21:03:55

I'm really well, thanks, Sidge. It's just over a year ago since my op and I was given the all clear afterwards so that was good news.

The poo talk was very helpful indeed, anything to minimise constipation and wind after major surgery!

Sidge Thu 18-Jun-09 21:09:42

That's great news, I'm really glad it's all gone so well for you! smile

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 18-Jun-09 21:46:48

marthamum - I've had two surgeries with midline incisions. It does take some getting over - I was in hospital for 10 days and felt every bump in the road going home. It did take several weeks to feel anything like normal - even standing up straight was a bit of a trial.

As regards pregnancy - I was told to allow two years before getting pg, although this was 22 years ago. I did just about wait that long. The scar held up fine although now, 3 children later it isn't as neat as it was.

Good luck with your surgery.

AuntieMaggie Fri 19-Jun-09 08:50:37

I wish I'd had all of this knowledge before my op as I really crashed emotionally afterwards when I didn't get back to "normal" after a few weeks.

My surgery was to remove a lump that was possibly cancerous about 2 years ago and I didn't think about any of the after effects but was just worried about the diagnosis. I was told to take 6 weeks off work and would be in hospital for a week, but it took me longer than 6 weeks to get over it IMO. And I got really frustrated about not being able to do the simplest of things like hanging the washing out.

Take it easy and don't expect too much from yourself.

Having surgery like that is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster too so spoil yourself and make sure your DH spoils you too.

Sidge sounds like she can give you advice that will be helpful.

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