Recovering from Abdominal Surgery

Your surgeon and the team at UC Health are committed to helping to make your recovery from colon and rectal surgery as smooth as possible.

Enhanced Recovery Pathway (ERP)

When appropriate, your surgeon will place you on an Enhanced Recovery Pathway (ERP) in order to speed your recovery. An ERP can aid in your recovery both in terms of quicker discharge from the hospital and in accelerated recovery at home. Most patients are candidates to be placed on an ERP. The elements of enhanced recovery include:
• Non-narcotic pain medication given prior to, during and after surgery
• Early feeding rather than bowel rest
• Prompt removal of drains and catheters, as appropriate

The benefits of using an ERP include higher patient satisfaction, quicker return to home and normal activities and fewer complications after surgery.

What to Expect the Afternoon and Evening of Your Open Abdominal Surgery

Day 0 –You’ll begin your breathing and leg exercises, under the guidance of your occupational therapist.
• In most cases, you will be offered a clear liquid diet within hours of surgery. In rare cases—and typically when you have an existing bowel obstruction—you may wake up with a tube running from your nose into your stomach to empty your stomach contents.
• You’ll sit up in a chair and walk a short distance.

Read About the Next 4 Days After Your Open Abdominal Surgery 

What to Expect the Afternoon and Evening of Your Laparoscopic Surgery

Day 0 – Afternoon and Evening of Your Surgery Day
• You’ll begin your breathing and leg exercises.
• In most cases, you will be offered a clear liquid diet within hours of surgery. In rare cases—and typically when you have an existing bowel obstruction—you may wake up with a tube running from your nose into your stomach to empty your stomach contents.
• You’ll sit up in a chair and walk a short distance.

Read About the Next 4 Days After Your Laparoscopic Surgery 

What to Expect After Closure of an Ileostomy

If you have a procedure to close an ileostomy, your recovery will be very similar to that of laparoscopic surgery. Please refer to those guidelines above. However, it’s likely that you’ll be discharged from the hospital a bit sooner—probably on the first or second day after your surgery.