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Laparotomy recovery time / removal of ovary/endemetriosis

Hi there, can anyone provide some guidance on recovery from a laparotomy?  Was suppose to have been having a laparoscopy to remove my left ovary and large cyst within this along with treatment for endemetriosis, woke up to have had a laparotomy and the latter all done plus part of the fallopian tube with it. It is now three weeks since the op and I can at least move around more, no longer doing an impression of a ladybird on its back trying to get up... The main scar is still sore on the inside and by later in the day I get pain down the left side, still have the shelf overhanging which hoping with time and eventually some exercise will go, still quite bloated but this comes and goes seems to get worse later in the day. Hormones have been all over the place as well.  I have had a first period since the op and the pain was still horrendous but assume this is everything settling down again. Would be grateful for anyone's similar experience to give some idea of what to expect and how soon will feel normal again if ever? Didn't really get much from hospital and main follow up isn't until July?? Any help is welcomed.
130 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi there, I really don't have my own experience. But, I may be able to help with part of your questions.  The recovery will depend on the size of the incision and where it is. Was it done laparoscopy with an incision in the belly button and two small "stab wounds" on each side or did they do the exploratory style with a large incision. Sounds like the larger which takes about 6 weeks. The more you get up and walk around, the more the soreness leaves. It also helps with the gas/bloating. You can also take otc simethicone 2 tabs four times a day until the bloating leaves or until you have diarrheaa (as it can cause it, but that sometimes helps, too). Don't run a marathon or anything. Simply walking will help. The hormones may take a while, fluctuating is normal. The dr can give some hormones for that if it is bad, give them a call.  Best of luck and hope for a speedy recovery.  tmv
Avatar universal
I agree with the other comment.  Take it easy.  Remember that you did just have surgery and average recover is 6-8wks. Also the reason you feel worse at the end of the day is because you feel good in the morning so tend to do more.  Try to limit what you are doing to small things. If you normally excercise, know that you wont be able to do what you did before the OR for a while start slow and work your way up without expecation as to when you should be normal again.  With the hormonal change it may take longer as you could feel more tired and emotional than what you are use to.  If you have pain don't suffer, take something for it.  Make sure that you are eating healthy high fibre to keep you regular and it will help with your peirods as well.
Hope you are feeling better soon
Avatar universal
Thanks for your help, reassuring to hear this is quite normal, the plan was for the laparoscopy and all set for this then woke up having had the laparotomy done so wasn't quite as prepared with info on this.  Starting to accept the fact it will take time, will be pleased once stomache starts to decrease slightly seems to increase from an already bloated belly to a good extra 4 inches by the end of the day - weird almost like all the fluid and gas settles in other areas in the night then throughout the day it comes back to the one spot. thank you for your help.
Avatar universal
I am amazed how dr.s may not be informing women of what recovery will look like. I have my left ovary removed and was told 2-3 days tops.  Well, it is 8 days later and I still don't feel like myself. Plus we beat ourselves up as women and most often it is the expecations from men (ob/gyn's, that is, no male bashing intended) when we are not up and running to care for everyone else.  I feel better knowing.  I thought something was wrong with me
Avatar universal
Yes, I too expected to have a total Hysterectomy & removal of ovaries & Endometriosis by Laparascopic surgery.  Well, that did occur but I knew that after my surgery that something was very wrong.  My Sigmoid Colon had been ruptured.  I was hugely distended & kept questioning this to no avail.  I even suggersted that I had Peritonitis, but was told to think happy thoughts!  Finally, day 5 in the hospital I felt my bowel really "Go" whilst on the toilet.  I felt a ghastly rush & a bursting sensation & the pain dropped me to the floor & my left leg went numb.
Luckilly for me a friend happened to visit shortly thereafter as staff seemed to think that Panadol would reduce my temp & Morphine would take care of the rest.  Five hours of my friend harrassing staff to "Get the Dr. or surgeon" & I was finally sent for a CAT scan.  Severe Peritonitis & off for emergency surgery.  A Laparotomy was performed & Perioneal Lavage & a Colostomy.  Delightful !  Thankfully though I am alive.  From there I had many set backs & ended up leaving the hospital 6 weeks later.  (Free floating pus around my kidneys & lungs full of fluid & anaemia).  Upon returning home I was still having my Laparotomy wound  (51 staples) packed by the local District nurses as that had also opened up in five areas into what the nurses called Sinus cavities.  It is now 5 months since my surgery. I can very much appreciate how you feel!
My stomach (which I have always strived to keep flat & firm) also bloats up as the day goes on.  It doesn't seem to matter what I eat.  It doesn't seem quite so bad through the night as what it was, so I'm hoping that with time it will improve.  I am able to once again ride my horses & will enter my first show since the surgery this coming Sunday.  However I will have to get some new Jodhpurs as I have definitely changed shape.  My stomach does some very odd things!  I too have been wondering if abdominal exercises will help tame my tummy!  It seems to have a mind of it's own.  The hormones are settling but I had to start taking a mild HRT, to settle the flushes. My Diaphragm has taken a real battering, that is for sure & it still spasms if I sneeze or yawn deeply.
I too wish that more information was given at the hospital.Had my friend not arrived when she did I would most definitely not have survived.  Try to stay positive & think of all of the things that you can do.  Try to do a bit more each day but remember to rest when your body tells you to.
Reading your letter Made me feel as though I wasn't on my own.  Good luck Turnip. May 4th   Mandy 451
Avatar universal
I Just had a procedure done yesterday for Endometriosis. They made what i thought was going to be a small incision in by belly button. Well, its a bit bigger than small. They also made an incision on my existing c-section scar ( which is the most painful as of right now) and that i have no idea what for. A  D and C was also preformed as well. I was not prepared nor informed about how much pain i would be in after the surgery. Yesterday after the procedure i was OK, but as night fell OH MY GOD! I have only had cat naps and that is just out of exhaustion. I was in so much pain last night even after taking the pain medicine like its candy. I could not get into bed last night and had to lay on the couch. I had to go to the bathroom but i couldn't get up I was in so much pain. I called for my Husband for over an hour but he was asleep and because of the surgery i could not yell or even raise my voice so he didn't hear me. Nedless to say i ended up wetting myself. My poor husband was so upset he was nearly in tears.I am starting to feel the same way now that i felt last night. I have a feeling it is going to be a long and horrible night. The gas pains are horrible, i have never felt anything like this in my life. I have a FLAT stomach and right know i look to be about 5 months pregnant. I am not exaggeration. They said recovery time will be about 2 weeks, well they haven't been exactly honest with the rest of the info so I'm not sure when i will feel better.
543028 tn?1282432426
hi and god bless u darlin it sounds rough

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/571232

i have no experience with endometriosis so please try the above link

if u are in OMG pain as opposed to just sore please call ur doctors after hours number .. someties things go wrong and nobody can say for sure unless the screen u properly ... if ur surgeon doesnt have after hours contacts then please go to an emergency room

i have an incision from my pubic bone to my diaphragm and am only 4 weeks post op and not realy up to speed yet but i have improved with time :) so will u if u take good care of urself :)

u know my docs understated the amount of pain as well ... i guess its so u wot decide not to have surgery LOL

the bloating and swelling just started to go down for me but post op i couldnt fit into my own clothes if that helps any

u know there are a lot of women with experience with this procedure in many varying degrees on the ovarian cyst forum ... try reposting this over there

i pray u a good recovery
love
sharon

Avatar universal
I had my right ovary removed 8-25-08, I didn't have a lot of pain but I still didn't feel like my normal self ands it's been almost 4 weeks. I can not fit any of my pants even my pull ons are to tight, my navel is still sore as well. Sometimes I feel a tugging in my navel when I stand straight so I walk slightly bent and my doctor told me I could return to work in 5 days, not even. Let us all hang  in there and know that Jehovah Jire, the Lord our provider will take care of us with the provisions we need to recover and get back to our lives pre-surgery.

Take care
Roxanne
Avatar universal
hi my name is liz, i had a hysterectomy nearly 3ys ago and im now having to go into hospital next month to have my ovaries removed. im now getting really anxious about the surgery as they have told me that they will try to do it laparoscopy but may have to end up going in through my previous scar. i have read all of your comments and im really starting to worry as im already disabled because of back problems (my spine is crumbling) so i suppose im really looking for reassurance and you all to tell me that im going to be fine lol.

i hope you all make a full and healthy recovery very very soon.

love liz xxxx
Avatar universal
hi. i had a large ovarian cyst/right ovary/ and fallopian tube tied on Oct.3 08'. i think my recovery was quick i had a laparotomy done and resumed work a week and a half later. I have a high threshold for pain, i have a question if anyone can help. I have a burning(feels like alot of bee stings) on the right side where my ovary used to be. I was  just wondering if anyone else has experienced this. also is another question, I was told(also have known since i was a teenager) that i should not have children due to a genetic condition called marfan syndrome i had open heart surgery a few years ago (i was 18) so that would basically ever count out having kids. part of the surgery was supposed to tie both fallopian tubes but the surgeon refused to tie the left side saying that i am still young (23) and will change my mind. my question is how long i should wait to go see my regular gyno about my options.
Avatar universal
I just had an ovarian cyst removed, along with my right ovary on Nov 4th, 2008. The recovery has been an ordeal. Unbelievable pain. I don't seem to be able to tolerate the narcotics and have had similar ordeals to those of you who found you couldn't get yourself up to go to the bathroom. I finally seem to have managed the pain by taking my medication, and anti nausea meds, in small doses every 2 hours. I set an alarm at night and wake up every 2 hours to take the meds. I was refraining from eating salt so that the swelling in my body would go do down but found that I was having muscle spasms in my abdomen and legs, possibly due to low electrolites (too much water and too little minerals). I started drinking Emergen-Cee and the spasms have dissipated. How long will it take for all the swelling to subside from my body?
Avatar universal
I had both ovaries removed Dec 18th by laproscopy and I feel pretty good, but my belly button incision seems to be open, like the stitch dissolved before the skin closed over complete.  There is no pus, no fever, no pain, no redness other than the general scar area.   The hole is about 1/4 inch in diameter, but I'm still a little concerned about having a hole in my belly!  Of course, both my GP and OBGYN are closed for the holidays so I called the hospital that did my surgery.  The nurse suggested I cover my belly button up with a band-aid or gauze and tape.  Has anyone had this experience?  Does it eventually heal from the inside out?
Avatar universal
Dear ladies,

Bless all of you. I had my Laparotomy on Nov. 17, 2008. I wish someone would have prepared me for the experience. It is pain like you would hopefully never have to experience again. My stomach and abdomen are was swollen for about 2 weeks. It's been about nine weeks now, and my admonen is still swollen. the incision burns incredibly at times. I work 60 hour work weeks and started full time again this week. My energy is not there and I'm not moving as quickly as a use to. In fact, if I try to move quicky, my incision slows me down. There is no longer pain, but a throbbing and and the burning sensation. It's hard to discribe. I've been spotting for almost 5 weeks now. The nurse said it is normal. I have been on birth control for continuously since Oct. 15, 2008. I need to brave it and have my period. I decided to have it the 1st week in February. That will give me 2 more weeks for my body to adjust. I would encourage any lady who have a pending surgery to seek advise from those who has experienced it. You will find it helpful. If I can offer some quick advise:
1) Build upper body strength. You will need it during your stay in the hospital pulling yourself in and out of bed.
2) Have a great care giver partner. Thank God I had my mother. She was amazing.
3) The gas pain can be very painful. All the doctors said to get rid of it was to walk. Let me tell you something. YOU DO NOT FEEL LIKE WALKING. Do what you can. When I got home, I took Benefiber with my meals. It did help with the gas.
There is so much more. Please feel free to contact contact me via email at ***@**** if you have gone through this or about to. I do work a lottof hours, but I promise I will get back to you. There is so much your doctor does not tell you. Good bless.
Avatar universal
Hi,

I am 28 years old and I had a laparotomy on 23rd December 2008 to remove a 10cm corpus luteum cyst on my right ovary which had ruptured.  It all happened very fast for me.  I experienced pain on the 21st December and was taken into hospital.  I had no idea what was happening.  I was given an internal ultrasound and then a CT scan.  I was then told that the scan had shown something measuring 10cm on my right ovary but that they did not know what it was.  As you can imagine i was thinking the worst.  They told me they could not rule anything out but they did believe it was more likely to be a cyst or abscess.  I was told that I would lose my right ovary and tube.  After signing my surgery consent form I had a very sleepless night in hospital worrying about the surgery.  The pain was quite intense and actually radiated all up the right side of my body and into my right shoulder which made it painful to breathe.  It also caused fluid to accumulate around my liver and lungs, which i later found out was due to the amount of blood that was hemoridging from the cyst.  So i was given a morphine injection for the pain and also some IV paracetamol to reduce my temperature.

I woke up the next day and my surgery was at 3pm.  I went down for surgery and was back in my room 3 hours later.  It was good news.  When they opened me up and realised it was a corpus luteum cyst that had ruptured they were able to drain away all the blood that had gathered in my pelvis and they sewed up my ovary.  They didnt have to remove the ovary after all (I was delighted).  After the surgery I had a morphine pump for the pain which i controlled via a small button which was kept in my right hand.  I also had a catheter in which was removed 24 hours after surgery together with the morphine pump.  This is when i was told i had to get up and walk around.  Well I was not ready for the pain but I have to admit once i was up it did start easing.  My incision is just below my bikini line and is about 8 inches long.  I was scared to look at it at first but then after 5 days when i was getting my prolene and bead stitch removed i finally looked and i realised it wasn't as bad as i had imagined.

I am now 4 weeks post op tomorrow and i am not yet back to myself but I am almost there.  I have done everything the doctors told me.  I have got up and moved around as much as possible every day.  I have avoided the urge to stay in bed some days.  I shower every day anyway, but after a laparotomy it is essential to shower every day to keep the wound clean to avoid infection.  The doctors told me just to bring the shower head down to the wound and gently wet the area.  My wound has never leaked or oozed and has healed perfectly.  As I said i am 4 weeks post op and I am able to walk about 40 minutes per day.  I have my follow-up appointment on 3rd Feb so im looking forward to being back to myself very soon.  I hope my story helps others.

Wapity
1 Comments
Yes this helps my I am almost 3 weeks recovering I had a 8cm dermoid cyst on my right ovary which was removed along with one of my fallopian tube. My legs feel like fluid is building up. I move around better but I feel the pain here and there. I prop my legs so I will not get blood clots. I pray to get back to me because this is depressing and I miss working out.
Avatar universal
I had a laporoscopy on Jan 2nd 2009 to have my left ovary and left fallopian tune removed. I had a very large cyst on the overy.  It is jus tover 3 weeks since my surgery and the incision on my left side is red, warm to the touch and still oozing.  I am very tired and feel week when I try to do too much.  I do nothav a fever or anything.  has anyone else had this happen?  How long before I can expect to be "back to normal"?
Avatar universal
Hi all,

I too had a Laparotomy on 31/12/2008. I went in knowing I had a large abdominal mass (16cm) and had showed signs of cancer markers in my bloods. I signed a long consent to whatever they had to do.. it ranged from a fibroid to ovarian tumor. Thankfully the tumor was benign and they removed my left ovary and fallopian tube and was given the all clear.
I too felt terrible and the pain was unbearable but I was also eager to go home as I found it difficult to rest in Hospital. I was discharged on day 4, the painkillers perscribed to me to take home did nothing for me and I couldnt sleep in bed as everytime I laid flat the pain tore through me, and sleeping on my side was a no no as I felt like my insides were being twisted. I found walking around helped me although once it hit the evening thats when the pain kicks in.
Its hard to describe but I experiance a lot of sharp pains in both my hips and down my left side, has anyone experiance the same? It has been 4 weeks and the pain has not gone.. somedays worse than others I have been back to my GP and been perscribed with antibotics for a urine infection which I finished last week and still the pain is there.
I was told a six week to twleve week recovery but Im not sure if I should be feeling this way, I get so tired and hungry all the time.. has anyone experianced the same? I be grateful for any advice.
Many thanks in advance.
Avatar universal
I was just reading both your stories and im sorry to hear that things are not going so good for either of you.

Kathypoppins, it sounds like you have a wound infection.  You mention it being hot to touch and oozing, this is a sign of infection.  You should contact the ward you were in at the hospital for advice from the nurses and if need be they will advise you to go to your GP for antibiotics.  Feeling tired at 3 weeks is very normal so I would not be worrying about that.  Good luck.

Jenwa, you had quite a large mass removed so its no wonder you are still experiencing quite a bit of pain.  I understand what you mean about the pain when lying flat, my pain was relieved by my painkillers but I also found that putting a pillow under my legs (to raise them a little) when i was lying flat helped reduce the pain.  I am now almost 6 weeks post op and I still feel a little pain when Im lying on my side but its so much better than it was.  You mention sharp pains, down both hips and particularly your left side (where the work was done).  I have experienced similar to this but it tends to be when I have wind.  You wouldnt believe how much pain wind can cause, and it can also cause pain in places you wouldnt expect.  Mention it to your doctor anyway but Im sure its nothing for you to worry about.  Its major surgery you have had so its going to take your body a good while to recover.  Take care.
Avatar universal
Thankyou for your reply.. and I hope your recovery is going well. You mentioned wind.. and now it makes sense as I tend to be very gassy. My scar too runs from my pubic bone to my belly button. I have been lucky as it has healed very well but my parents kept me on a strict diet as being chinese they believe that eggs and beef and prawns are not good after op. Eggs and prawns could increase infection and beef causes the scar to itch.. believe it or not its worked for me so far.
Take care too and thanks again for your reply , its so reassuring to hear from someone that has been through a similar operation. I was beginning to get worried ha ha.

x
Avatar universal
You guys have really got me worried not about my upcoming surgery. Feb 10. I think they are calling it a diagnostic laposcopy (sp) They are initially going in to remove a tumor that is underneathe my aorta, but will be looking at my female organs due to the fact that my monthly cycles are off (to many periods) and I have pain in the left side. My gyno will do an ultra sound this coming week because she felt something on the left during the pelvic exam. If there is anything that needs to come out she will have the surgeon do it while removing the tumor. The tumor is not able to be biopsied due to the location and they can not tell for sure that it is not a cancerous tumor. They are hoping it will be the answer to my weight loss and night sweats. The night sweats could be due to me hitting menopaus (38). -30lbs in a year. I am 5'2 and weigh now 98lbs. I do have issues with my thyroid medication, I am either over medicated or undermedicated. I had a thyroidectomy 15yrs ago. I have also had to have my submandibular gland removed (10-08) due to a sialdentias  (chronic infection), and during my surgery for that they discovered a calcified ligament (Eagle Syndrome) and two calcified lymph nodes. This tumor they are removing is also calcified. I have also had an abscess that had two different kinds of infection in it on my left buttock, it was on the inside, they did the cut and drain twice due to the infection not going away. That took a month to clear up using 3 different antiboitics. They will be looking at my kidneys, I am currently being treated for Intestrial Cystis (FREQUENT urination) And last but not least, they will be looking at my adrenal glands.

Sorry, did not mean to tell my life story here....

I hope i am not in that much pain after mine. I only scheduled two weeks from work...
Avatar universal
I had a laparotomy to remove a 12cm dermoid cyst and left ovary 9 days ago. There was also a small 3cm cyst on the right ovary. It was an emergency procedure performed just one hour after getting the results of an ultrasound test. So there was no way of me to prepare for it, as everything happened to quickly.
I have the ubiquitous ER horror story, but that's besides the point. I spent 9 hours in the ER, in immense pain, until finally an ultrasound was performed that revealed the mutant alien dermoid. I was misdiagnosed one week earlier when I went to ER for severe abdominal pains, with a kidney infection. Ten days later and down to the last 2 pills of cipro, the pains persisted and I knew something was seriously wrong.
Fortunately a OB/GYN had come in that evening and explained the diagnosis, for which there is no other alternative to surgical removal. A laparoscopy was not a viable option due to the size of the cyst, so that's why a laparotomy was the best way to go. The doctor said the procedure would take 1 hour but I woke up 3 hours from the last time I looked at the clock. I was heavily sedated and in tremendous pain, yet I was expected to lift myself from the gurney to my hospital bed like I didn't have a 6 inch gash above my pubic bone. The nurse gave me some morphine so I could sleep through the night but it didn't help because other nurses would wake me up to take blood or blood pressure.
Prior to the surgery, the doctor told me I could return to work the following Monday (4 days post-surgery) and was a bit surprised. From what I've been reading, 6 weeks is the normal time to heal properly. I'm supposed to return to work next week, which means 2 weeks post-surgery. I still feel a bit of discomfort and pain but each day it gets a little better. Vicodin doesn't do anything for me but make my groggy and tired--I still feel pain. So rather than risk becoming addicted to the "lazy" feeling, I stopped taking vicodin after the 2nd day. The hardest thing has been getting out of bed because I have nothing to hold onto. My advice, if you know you're going to have a laparotomy, is to do a lot of abdominal resistance exercises. They will help you and come in handy! I have pretty strong abs but have not done exercises in a while so I believe it has made recovery a little slower, but it's OK. I walk everyday, albeit slow and more like a shuffle, but it helps. Squats help too.
I still feel pain on the left side. I don't have a follow-up with the doctor until the day after I return to work, but I hope that it's not anything serious, just a normal internal recovery process. Don't beat yourself up for not healing fast enough. It's not like a cut on the finger! I don't recommend watching comedy either because it hurts to laugh..no joke! Take things at your pace. Truly, each person heals differently so you have to listen to your body and how it responds.
Avatar universal
I had a laparotomy 2 weeks ago, left ovary and large ovarian cyst removed along with having a right ovarian cyst drained, I was in hospital for 5 days, my cysts were miss diagnosed in April 08 said I had a water infection, when infact it was a 13cm x 6cm cyst. This was not discovered until October 08 when I had an ultra sound scan. I was told it is very rare to have cysts on both ovaries, the Dr could not see my left ovary so told me I only had them on one side. In Nov 08 I had an MRI, shortly after this I had the surgery where the surgeon discovered my left ovary was infact worse than my right and therefor it had to be removed along with the cyst and my left fallopian tube. My right side was drained. After surgery the surgeon told me I was lucky to be alive as if I had been out in a shopping centre and it had burst I would not be here today. I urge anyone who has an incline that something is not right to ask for a second opinion, i only wish I had done that in April maybe then i wouldn't of had to have my ovary or fallopian tube removed. I now have Prostap injections once a month for 6 months, I do not know if I will ever be able to have children until I try. Has anyone had the same as me done and gone on to have a baby? I'm desperate for some reassurance
Avatar universal
I am 19 years old and just found out that i have a 15 cm cyst on my right ovary. The doctors said usually they do a laparoscopy to remove cysts but due to the size of it I'm thinking they will have to do a laparotomy instead. My main concern is the recovery time. I am a full time student and I am a waitress at a very busy restaurant which involves me to move around a lot. Do you think due to the size i will need a laparotomy? I am worried about taking time off of school and work. I have rent/bills to pay and also don't want to fall behind in school.

Will a cyst this size more than likely need a laparotomy? Thus resulting in a long painful recovery?
Avatar universal
i had a laparoscopy to remove al arge bleeding cyst on my right ovary and ended up haviong my ovary removed as well as it had caused so much damage. i am going back to work on monday which will have been 2 weeks since surgery. i currently only work part time so im hoping i will manage but i am still pretty sore and extemly tired. my main wound where the ovary was removed is still extremly sore, the doctor said it looks angryand i am just to keep an eye on it over teh next week
Avatar universal
Jaymers-I would not recommend going back to work right away. I believe you can claim disability through your employer. Each state varies. I was alotted sick leave for the first 5 days and the additional 5 were covered under state disability benefits. Also, look into FMLA.  (Google it for more information.) The first week was a struggle to stand up and getting out of bed was the worst. I think you should take it easy the first week and then see how you feel but make sure you see the doctor before you return to work. It's now 3 weeks post-op and I'm at about 85%. The most important healing is internal so you need to ensure you don't do something that will cause the healing to be impeded.

hayls1985-You will be sore for awhile. My cyst was thought to be the size of a softball but turned out to be be larger. The left side where the cyst was and the ovary removed is still swollen but trust that each day you will get better. If you need more time off, you should talk with your doctor. I was given either a 2 week doctor's note or a 6 week. I should have taken the 6 weeks, just because I wanted 1 extra week to relax before jumping back into the stressful work environment.
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