Post-Operative Instructions

Thank you for choosing us to care for your gynecological needs. Our goals are your safety and a prompt recovery. Now that you are leaving the hospital, we ask that you follow a few important instructions:

Transportation: please have someone assist you for at least the next 48 hours and for the duration that you are taking narcotic pain medications (i.e. Percocet, dilaudid). Everyone heals at different rates and some patients feel more comfortable with someone driving them until they see their doctor at their postoperative follow-up visit. Remember, if you are in pain or under the influence of medication, your reaction time is slower and you may be a risk to yourself and others.

Showering: Showering and bathing are permitted and encouraged. Let soapy water run over incision; do not scrub the incision. If you had an external vaginal surgery i.e. Incision and Drainage or Marsupilization of Bartholin’s cyst, sitz baths or soaking the affected area in a hot bath 2-4 times daily, is recommended. Your nurse or local pharmacy can instruct you on proper technique.

Dressing: If you have an Aquacel (or other) dressing, we encourage that you remove it 5-7 days after your surgery. If you need assistance, you can make an appointment with the office. If you have a drain or permanent sutures, please do not remove them on their own. If a drain falls out on its’ own, please contact your physician. The incision does not have to be covered afterwards. The use of bacitracin or Neosporin is permitted.

Activity: We encourage you to increase activity as tolerated unless otherwise instructed. Staying in bed can increase the risk of pneumonia, blood clots, muscle atrophy, and depression. Even sitting in a chair makes a significant difference. Do not engage in heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity for 4-6 weeks after surgery unless otherwise permitted by your physician. Sexual activity should be deferred until after the post-operative visit.

Medications: There are a variety of recommended over-the-counter oral medications (by mouth) which you may take for post-operative symptoms (unless otherwise stated or if a medical condition or an allergy exists). Some include:

  • For pain: Ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) 2-3 regular strength tablets (400-600mg total) every 6 hours as needed or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1-2 regular strength tablets (325-650mg total) every 6 hours as needed (Please remember 1 Percocet tablet has 325mg Tylenol in it already!) Neither of these medications should be taken in excess of 3000mg (3g) daily as they could be toxic to the body above the recommended value. Naproxen (Aleve) can be taken as well; 1 tab (220mg) every twelve hours as needed as an alternative regimen.
  • For heartburn or nausea: Tums (as needed) or Pepcid 20mg twice daily as needed is acceptable. If you feel nauseated, it may also be helpful to limit solid food and stick with a clear liquid diet for the short-term as anesthesia and pain medications can evoke nausea.
  • For gas and constipation: Simethicone (Mylicon/Gas-X) 1 tablet 3-4 times daily as needed for gas pain; Milk of magnesia 10ml 1-2 times daily as needed to help pass gas; Colace 100mg tablet 1-2 times daily as needed to keep stool soft and encourage regular bowel movements. Daily fiber intake and increased fluid intake (preferably water) will help as well.

Important Considerations: Please contact your physician if any of the following occur:

  • Pain: uncontrolled with appropriate over the counter medications or prescribed medications.
  • Incision: purulent (foul odor or yellow-green) discharge or excess bleeding. Also if the incision opens. A rash spreading outward from the incision is often worrisome as well.
  • Bleeding: varies by procedure; but if bleeding is in excess of 1 saturated vaginal pad every 2 hours, your doctor should be notified.
  • Fever: oral temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Please purchase a thermometer as tactile temperatures are often inaccurate.

Please continue or re-start any of your home medications as previously directed by your surgeon and other physicians. If there is any question or confusion, please call BEFORE making the decision to take or not to take your medication.

Please make sure that you call the office (973) 763-4334 to schedule your post-operative appointment:

  • Same Day Surgery: 2 weeks after surgery
  • Major Gynecological Surgery: 4-6 weeks after surgery

Proper planning and open communication between doctor and patient will help to minimize post-operative surgical complications. Bleeding and infection are an inherent risk to ANY surgical procedure. Other risks have been discussed at your pre-operative visit and best efforts to avoid them have been made. Your health and safety are our number one priority. Please keep your doctor informed, follow instructions, and ask any questions that you may have. It can be difficult to evaluate a situation over the phone so an earlier follow-up appointment may be necessary.

Post-Operative Instructions (PDF)