Appendectomy (Open, Laparoscopic) Patient Discharge Instructions

Day after Surgery

If you have strips of tape [Steri-strips®] on the incisions: remove the bandage but leave the strips of tape directly on the skin for a week; no other dressing is necessary.

If you have sutures or staples, you may wish to keep a dressing on to protect the incision. Change the dressing and inspect your wound every day and as needed.

Shower or bathe, but do not sit in a bathtub or immerse the operative incision for at least until 72 hours after surgery. You may use a mild soap to gently cleanse your incision and carefully pat dry.


It is normal to have pain at your incision sites. You will receive a prescription for pain medicine before you leave the hospital. You may need to take this pain medication regularly, as directed, for the first few days after you leave the hospital. This should help control your pain, allow you to be more active and speed up your recovery.

Acetaminophen [Tylenol] or ibuprofen [Motrin] 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours for mild or moderate discomfort.

Acetaminophen with hydrocodone [Vicodin] or codeine [Tylenol #3] for severe discomfort. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking these narcotics.


A few spots of blood on the bandage is common. Call your surgeon if there are other signs of bleeding.

A moderate amount of black and blue skin discoloration around the wounds is common.

A firm, tender swelling will develop beneath the incision(s). These will disappear after several weeks.

Support the lower abdomen with a small pillow when coughing or sneezing.


Try to drink several glasses of juice or water per day.

You may eat a normal diet as tolerated.

Occasionally, patients develop constipation after surgery due to inactivity and narcotic pain medicine. Constipation may be relieved by increasing fluid intake and by taking an over-the-counter stool softener or mild laxative (milk of magnesia). Bowel function should return to its previous pattern within a week.

Activities at Home

In the first week after surgery, gradually increase your activity, taking rest periods as needed. Get adequate sleep at night.

Light aerobic exercise (walking, biking, swimming, golfing, jogging) is encouraged within the limits of your pain tolerance.

Avoid vigorous physical activity (sprinting, sit-ups, or lifting more than 30-50 lbs) for several weeks after surgery.

Driving a car

You may resume driving when you no longer take narcotic pain medication.

Sexual Activity

Gradually return to your previous level of activity. Certain positions may be more comfortable until the wound heals.


Most patients take up to 7 days off work to recuperate after appendectomy surgery.
Patients whose jobs involve strenuous work or frequent lifting (>30-50 lbs) may be off work for longer periods. Consult your surgeon for specific instructions.

Notify your physician if any of these occur:

  • body temperature greater than 101┬░F
  • drainage or fluid from incision
  • increased wound tenderness or soreness
  • significant redness or swelling at the incision site
  • persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation
  • swelling, redness, or persistent pain in the legs
  • difficulty urinating

Follow-up care

Call the office of Dr. Vazquez at (312) 649-6562 to schedule an appointment for 3 weeks after the date of surgery.

Each day you should continue to improve. Be sure to report any new pain or other issues of concern promptly to your physician. Assume that you will feel better each day and remember that any adverse symptom may be indicative that you are developing a serious post-operative complication.

Content reviewed and updated on September 26, 2014.