You have just undergone extensive pelvic surgery and now it is your turn to play an important role in the long-term success of your surgical treatment. Surgery and the recovery period can be a difficult time. It is normal to have many questions and concerns. The following guidelines are presented with the goal of helping you recover from surgery and giving you long-lasting satisfaction from your operation.
It may take up to 6 months to achieve 90% wound strength. Full wound strength may not be achieved until 2 years after surgery! Based on this, we recommend that you limit your activities for a full 6 to 12 weeks after surgery. What exactly does this mean? Anything that increases the pressure inside of your abdominal cavity will place stress and strain on the stitches and repair work in your pelvis and vagina. If enough stress is placed, the stitches and repair can break or be torn down. We recommend that you avoid any activity which will unduly increase your intra-abdominal pressure. Specific guidelines are given below.
In general, we would like to see you in the office about four and twelve weeks after the date of your surgery, and more often if necessary. Each of these appointments gives us specific information as to how well you are doing after surgery and what the surgery actually accomplished.
During the work day please call our office at (617) 732-4838 and press #2 for the nurses’ line. If you have an urgent problem you may press #1 and ask the secretary to contact a physician or nurse. If you call during a time when the office is closed please press #0 to reach the Brigham page operator and ask them to page the urogynecology provider on call. There is always a provider available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you go home with a catheter, you will be asked to come back to the clinic approximately one week after surgery to take the catheter out and have a voiding trial. A minority of women continue having difficulty emptying their bladder. The options then are to replace the catheter and have you come back in one week, or teach you or a family member how to do intermittent self-catheterization. When you have the catheter in place, the tube can be attached to a leg bag so that you can move around with ease. Make sure you empty the bag every time it fills up and before you go to bed at night.
We hope that it is clear to you that successful, long-lasting surgery is a joint effort by both the urogynecologist and the patient. After the surgery is complete, the work of the patient begins. We look forward to helping you have a good recovery and enjoying the results of excellent urogynecologic and reconstructive pelvic surgery.
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