Laparoscopic Oophorectomy: What to Expect at Home
Laparoscopic oophorectomy is surgery to remove your ovaries. Your doctor put a lighted tube (scope) and other tools through small cuts in your belly. The doctor then removed one or both of your ovaries.
After surgery, you may feel some pain in your belly for a few days. Your belly may also be swollen. You may have a change in your bowel movements for a few days.
It's normal to also have some shoulder or back pain. This is caused by the gas your doctor put in your belly to help see your organs better.
To help with pain, your doctor will prescribe medicines. You may need about 1 week to fully recover. It's important not to lift anything heavy for about 1 week. You can ask your doctor when it's okay to have sex.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Rest when you feel tired.
- Be active. Walking is a good choice.
- Allow your body to heal. Don't move quickly or lift anything heavy until you are feeling better.
- Hold a pillow over your incisions when you cough or take deep breaths. This will support your belly and may help to decrease your pain.
- You may shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery, if your doctor says that it's okay. Pat the incision dry.
- Do not take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.
- Do breathing exercises at home as instructed by your doctor. This will help prevent pneumonia.
- You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
- Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
- If your bowel movements are not regular right after surgery, try to avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest increasing your fibre intake or taking a mild laxative.
- Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
- If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
- If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- Do not take more than two pain medicines at the same time unless your doctor told you to. Many pain medicines contain Tylenol, which is also called acetaminophen. If you take too much acetaminophen, you can become very sick.
- If you have strips of tape on the cut (incision) the doctor made, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
- Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. They can slow healing.
- You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it oozes fluid or rubs against clothing.
- Change the bandage every day.
- Keep the area clean and dry.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. For a few weeks, avoid anything that puts pressure on your belly.
- You may want to use a heating pad on your belly to help with pain.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
- You have chest pain, are short of breath, or cough up blood.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
- You cannot pass stools or gas.
- You have vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
- You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.
- You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.
- Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over your incision.
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the incision.
- Pus draining from the incision.
- A fever.
- You have severe vaginal bleeding. This means that you are soaking through your usual pads every hour for 2 or more hours.
- You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
- Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
- Redness and swelling in your leg.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter L619 in the search box to learn more about "Laparoscopic Oophorectomy: What to Expect at Home".
Adaptation Date: 2/25/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services