Expect a few weeks of recovery from an appendectomy. If your appendix burst, it may take longer to recover. During this recovery time, you can take steps to help your body heal, such as:
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- Avoid strenuous activity at first. If your appendectomy was done laparoscopically, limit your activity for the first three to five days after surgery. If you had an open appendectomy, limit your activity for the first 10 to 14 days after surgery. Ask your doctor when you can go back to your normal activity.
- Support your abdomen when you cough. You may feel abdominal pain when you cough, laugh or make other movements. Place a pillow over your abdomen and apply pressure before these movements to brace yourself.
- Call your doctor if your pain medications aren't helping. Being in pain puts extra stress on your body and slows the healing process. If you're still in pain despite your pain medications, call your doctor.
- Get up and move when you're ready. Start slowly and increase your activity as you feel up to it. Start with short walks.
- Sleep when you feel tired. As your body heals, you may find you feel sleepier than usual. Take it easy and rest when you need to.
- Discuss returning to work or school with your doctor. You can return to work when you feel up to it. Children may be able to return to school less than a week after surgery, though strenuous activity, such as gym class or sports, should be limited for two to four weeks after surgery.
- Ben-David K, et al. Appendicitis. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Appendicitis, acute. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Appendicitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/appendicitis/. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Appendectomy. American College of Surgeons. http://www.facs.org/public_info/operation/brochures/app.pdf. Accessed June 23, 2011.