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An exploratory laparotomy is a surgery that allows a doctor to look inside your belly. Reasons for the surgery may include checking for injuries, finding out what's causing symptoms, seeing how far a disease like cancer has spread, and more.
After the surgery, you may feel weak and tired. You may be sick to your stomach. It's common to have some pain in your belly and around your cut (incision).
The pain should get better over the next few weeks. You may be able to go back to your usual activities in 2 to 4 weeks. Your bowel movements may not be regular for several weeks after the surgery.
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.
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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: January 9, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kara C. Taggart MD - Urology & Caroline L. Arthur MD - General Surgery & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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