Open laparotomy for ovarian cyst

Posted , 6 users are following.

I wanted to share my recent experience of open abdominal surgery with others who may be having this surgery.  I started with some left lower abdominal back pain which gradually increased until I was admitted later that day.  The following day I had an ultra scan which confirmed a large 10cm ovarian cyst.  The Drs decided they would surgically remove this the following day.  I was consented for a smaller laprascopic procedure, but on waking from my surgery was informed that they had gone in and done a full open incision right across my abdomen because access was difficult.  This was a significantly larger and more painful surgery, that I unfortunately woke up in the full grips of, which I somewhat struggled to get my head round.  I was intravenously hooked up to a morphine pump that you self administer for pain for the first 24hrs.  As your stomach muscles have been cut, it is very difficult to move for the first week especially, and regular pain relief is a must. I also had a catheter in my bladder for the first 2 days as getting out of bed was too difficult.  I tried to keep sat up in bed to help with comfort and a pillow under my legs helped greatly.  It is important to drink lots of fluids and a light diet.  Your bowels go on strike for a bit and the spasm pain from them trying to move and wind can be very uncomfortable.  It's best to try and gently walk about to try and get them going.  I went home after 6 days, and it was difficult at first, as you can only sleep on your back, and you feel like a stranded turtle as everything is so swollen. It's also worth having pain killers next to bed so you can take them before trying to move in a morning.  Lowering into a bath is impossible so stick to showers.  Don't let any dogs or cats jump onto your lap. And if you go out in car take a pillow to put between you and belt. Stick to stretchy pants but try and wear big knickers which offer you some tummy support it helps with pain. Try not to get too down with the discomfort it does end eventually but for the first 3 weeks it will feel like this is gonna be bad forever. If you drop anything on the floor just leave it there, bending hurts too much. Do not lift more than a kettle with a couple of cups worth of water, and no hoovering or manual work. Remember your ovaries have been messed with so if you feel emotional it's prob the little buggers flooding you with hormones.  Try and stick to a sleeping regime, and remember you will feel better eventually.  If you get any problems peeing or the other let your GP know ASAP, and try keep your wound clean and dry, any changes with this increased pain, discharge, heat or swelling, again let GP know.  If you spike a temp or feel unwell in yourself, again let Dr know. Sleeping helps with pillow behind legs. In 6 weeks you will feel back to normal, it's a tough surgery so just take every day slowly. Hope this helps with those waiting for this surgery. Finally if your anaesthetist offers you a self administered pain pump post op, say yes! Nurses with the best will in the world are very busy and you can end up waiting for pain relief, also don't wait till your in agony before taking painkillers, try and keep your pain killer levels up to stop breAkthrough pain! and everytime your offered simple pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, take it! If your constipated or your stools are hard ask for something for this, constipation makes everything hurt much more. You will also have numbness around your scar and abdomen, this feels weird but is normal.  Your tummy will also feel very swollen, again normal but will go down, 

2 likes, 8 replies

Report / Delete

8 Replies

  • Posted

    thank you emma for taking the time to share your experience, i am really glad that you are starting to feel better, i have a 16cm ovarian cyst on mty right ovary,, i thought i had kidney stones and was in so much pain i went to er, they did a scan and found the cyst, i am at home waiting to hear about surgery but finding sleep difficult due to heartburn, back ache and abdo pain, hopefully i will hear from hospital soon
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Thanks for sharing Emma. I had a different procedure in same area. I was expecting four little holes from laprascopic procedure but woke up with c section type scar right across. I was wondering if I was healing as I should and how long I would be needing painkillers etc. Your description of recovery process was helpful thanks. I got out of hospital as soon as I could but only got some meds and advice to take it easy. Good job we have Internet! Thanks again.
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Thank you so much for this post it is really valuable to me. 

    I was hoping that if I have to have the big surgery it'd just be similar to having a cesarean and I'd be staggering around within a couple of days (even though they lifted me into a chair the following morning). But it sounds as if it'll take longer than that.

    Are you in the UK?

    I have a 10cm cyst on my right hand side and an 11cm on the left (as of my last scan 2/3 months ago) and I'm still waiting on my MRI and consultant visit this thursday for them to decide if they are cancerous or not and how they will remove them. 

    I am so jealous of you having yours treated so quickly! The waiting has been emotionally agonising for me and I am feeling terrible. 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Sorry to hear you are having to wait so long to get sorted out. Mine wasn't a cyst but planned elective surgery to sort out aftermath of hysterectomy a couple of years ago. I was left with prolapse and probs with number 1s and number 2s. It was elective as I could have made the choice to put up with things as they were and, living the lifestyle of a sedentary old woman, wait for things to get worse over time as they surely would. Not much of a choice but it was still hard to put myself through surgery. I planned my surgery as best I could around work schedules and worked excessively hard to try to leave everything at work in good order to be covered by a colleague . I agree the waiting is horrible. I didn't sleep for more than 1-2 hours together in the days leading up to surgery so went in exhausted. Once the procedure is done you need to resign yourself to a couple of miserable days. You may be lucky and not have any miserable days and that would be a bonus. Morphine pump was helpful for dealing with any Sharp pain but I was very sick with that. In my limited experience of surgery after those two days things start to feel a lot better very quickly.once you are allowed to have a shower you will feel like a new woman. Bruised and sore but human refreshed and ready to face recovery. Each day should be better than the one before it. Keep telling yourself 'this will pass'. Plan some nice things for when you get a bit of concentration back. I watched a feel good film yesterday 4 days after surgery. My advice avoid anything funny though. I wish you well. Hope I haven't worried you everyone is different and I am only one person. I do live in UK and had surgery on NHS x
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      In hospital 3 days I have plenty of support at home so it was doable. Also luckily I live only a five minute journey from the hospital. The only thing I miss about hospital is the buttons on the bed to make it easier to manoeuvre myself from sitting to lying and vice versa. Lovely to be home. I've walked up the garden today (in the style of an elderly lady- but hopefully not for long) I'm eyeing the trampoline with intent although I may need to wait a few months for that! Can't wait to sign up for zumba and get on my bike. Hope you don't have to wait too much longer.
      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up