Ano-Rectal Surgery Post-Operative Instructions
Bowel movements after ano-rectal surgery are usually painful. Although this will diminish with time, the pain will usually require use of pain medication initially. You will be given a prescription for Vicodin, a pain medication. One to two pills of Vicodin can be taken every four hours as needed. Your pain will be most severe the first three to five days following surgery, and then it should gradually subside. Once pain improves or if the pain is not so severe, you may substitute Vicodin with Tylenol at any time.
You may remove the dressing applied before your first Sitz bath or bowel movement. You should begin warm Sitz baths on the evening of surgery, and continue three times a day for 10-15 minutes, especially after bowel movements. Some bloody discharge, especially after bowel movements, can be expected. If there is prolonged or profuse bleeding, however, you should call our office. You should avoid using dry toilet tissue after bowel movements. The best course of action is to gently wipe yourself with a wet cotton ball, then take a shower or Sitz bath, then dry the area with a hairdryer. If you cannot shower or bathe, then you can use moistened baby wipes. You may be given some antibiotic ointment to apply daily on the affected areas at home.
A sitz bath is a type of bath in which only the hips and buttocks are soaked in water. Its name comes from the German verb “sitzen,” meaning “to sit.”
A sitz bath is used for patients who have had surgery in the area of the rectum. A shower or tub bath may be substituted for a true sitz bath.
No strenuous exercise or heavy lifting should be attempted until healing is well under way. Climbing stairs, walking and car riding may be done in moderation as tolerated. You should avoid driving while Darvocet because it can make you drowsy.
Almost all ano-rectal surgical procedures are performed on an outpatient basis (you will go home the day of surgery). Patients generally return to work an average of 1 to 2 days after surgery, depending on their pain and level of discomfort.
No restrictions, but you should include plenty of fiber and water. You may take a tablespoon of Metamucil a day with a full glass of water as your fiber source. You will be given a prescription for Colace, a stool softener, which you should take twice a day as instructed. If you do not have a bowel movement in 48 hours after surgery, you should take one ounce of milk of magnesia, and repeat it in six hours if no results are obtained.
You should call the office for a follow-up visit in two weeks.
When to Call the Office
Please call the office if you experience any of the following:
- Persistent fever over 101° F
- Heavy or persistent bleeding from the rectum
- Pain that is not relieved by your medications