What to Expect Before and During an Abdominal Surgery

Abdominal surgery is done to treat conditions affecting your abdomen, including your stomach, small intestines, spleen, appendix, and rectum. Here are answers to some of the common questions that might arise as you get ready for abdominal surgery. 

How Should I Prepare for Abdominal Surgery?

  • Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking  after midnight the night before your surgery
  • Bring your contact lenses (if you wear them)
  • Take the prescribed medications, if any, with a single sip of water. Avoid ibuprofen, aspirin, or any medication containing aspirin for a week before your surgery
  • Do not bring credit cards, jewelry, or a lot of cash
  • Bring your insurance cards
  • Your nails will be monitored to identify blood circulation and oxygen, so avoid  wearing nail polish or artificial nails
  • Bring a list of all your current medications and their dosages 
  • Avoid make-up,  especially eye make-up
  • Visit your doctor if you have a cold or fever to prevent  any complications

Abdominal Surgery Process

Before Surgery 

Your doctor will perform a pre-operative physical exam a week before your surgery to evaluate your risk factors and complications. They will also instruct you on how to clean your colon (bowel).

On the Surgery Day 

  • Your vitals will be measured, including blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and pulse rate. 
  • Your blood and urine samples will be tested 
  • Questions will be asked to evaluate your surgery readiness 
  • You may also need a chest X-ray or ECG  as required by your doctor or anesthesiologist 

After these tests, you will be sent to the pre-operative room, where you will be given: 

  • Anesthesia to numb sensations 
  • Intravenous (IV) hydration to prevent dehydration
  • Antibiotics to decrease infection risks post-surgery
  • Medication for relaxation

In the Operating Room

Once the anesthesia puts you to sleep, your doctor will place a catheter in your bladder to collect and record urine output. A nasogastric (NG) tube may be passed through your nose to your throat and stomach to remove stomach secretions that would otherwise cause post-operative nausea and vomiting.  Generally, the tube is removed before you wake up. The surgery length varies for different patients, depending on their overall health and other possible complications.

After Surgery

You will be taken to the recovery room post-surgery, and your doctor will meet your family to discuss your condition. 


How Long Do I Have to Stay in the Hospital?

You will have to stay in the hospital for approximately one week.

Will I Have Pain Post-Surgery? How Can I Manage It?

The incision may cause slight pain, but you will be given several alternatives to manage it, including an injection, epidural catheter, and patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). 

What Should I Eat After Surgery?

Once your intestinal tract starts functioning, you may start taking liquids. If all goes well with your liquid diet, you may consume solid foods in a day or two. You can continue with your regular diet after returning home.

Will Moving My Bowels Hurt?

No, it will not hurt.

Can I Exercise?

You can do simple exercises like walking and swimming, provided you don’t exert your upper body for a month.  

Contact us today at Far North Surgery if you are looking for the best abdominal surgeon in Alaska or have any questions about abdominal surgery.


Dr. Madhu Prasad, M.D., FACS

Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30+ years of experience working as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist and providing the highest level of care in Anchorage, Alaska. He believes in providing quality care to patients and their families. Inspired by compassion and humanism, Dr. Prasad and his team work for the well-being of their patients.

Common Surgical Procedures

Comments are closed