Recovery 5 weeks after laparotomy to remove 12cm dermoid cyst

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I had a laparotomy (6 inch bikini line incision) to remove a 12cm dermoid cyst, right ovary and fallopian tube just over a month ago.

I am 33 years old and exercised regularly prior to the operation. Since discharge from the hospital I have had no follow up appointments and received no advice on the recovery process as the pre op was focused on laparoscopy (the surgeon was unable to perform this on the day due to the position of the cyst). I feel quite isolated and worried that I am doing too much to soon.

The last few days, I have gone for a short walk each day. While it is nice to get out I have found this tiring and painful, particularly by my hips, where I get a sharp, pulling pain if I walk to fast.

Did anyone else experience the same thing?

How long did it take you to get back to normal?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi - I had the same operation except both sides done.

    I'm 7 months post op now... I found the recovery very painful and very slow! The first month or 2 were very difficult for me, I think it's great you are walking! You will feel the "pulling" pinching etc... even stabbing pains if you do to much. You really need to ease back into things and just listen to your body and you'll now when you reach your limit. 

    They told me to walk as much as I could, it was the best thing you could do. Whatever you do, do not lift anything heavy over 10lbs. You will feel if you do! It can also cause a hernia

    It just takes time! 

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    • Posted

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for your response, sorry to hear you went through this procedure too.

      It's reassuring to hear my progress seems normal - I have experienced the stabbing and pulling pains and was worried I was doing too much so I took it easy the following day. A couple of people said they think my progress seems slow, which worried me but I think they are comparing the procedure to a c-section.

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  • Posted

    Hi sorry to hear about how you are. I can't give you any advice about recovery cause in a few days I am myself going to have a laportmory for a 32 cm cyst and a ovary removed. I am terrified beyond words ... For someone who has gone through this operation any advice xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Eleanor,

      Thanks for your reply and sorry to hear about your situation.

      I have found this site so useful for tips on recovering from the laparotomy.

      Some advice I can offer is:

      - Straws are really useful after the op as it hurts to move to have a drink.

      - I woke up to find I had a catheter in after the op, this didn't hurt at all.

      - I took face wipes to the hospital which were so useful as it was hot and I didn't get to wash or shower until day 3.

      - After the surgery I had a weird crackly cough. It helped pressing a pillow over the incision if I had to cough or sneeze (I tried not to sneeze where possible as it was so painful).

      - I have lived in loose fitting clothes since the op.

      - The first two weeks I was so tired I slept for a few hours each day.

      - Sorry for tmi but I was constipated after the op and had to get this checked at the hospital a few days later.

      - It took a while for my appetite to return but I drank lots of water and ate soups and fresh fruit and veg to help my digestive system recover.

      - If possible, pre-prepare meals and freeze them prior to surgery. I couldn't chop or cook anything for a least a couple of weeks.

      - Do any manual tasks such as hoovering, mopping etc prior to the surgery.

      - Let your friends and family know that you will need their help and company following the op.

      - I have been walking around the house and garden since day 3 post op (just a few steps at first) and last week started doing short, slow walks.

      I know everyone is different and this is just my experience of this surgery! I hope it helps though.

      Good luck for your surgery and let me know if you have any other questions xx

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  • Posted

    That’s completely normal. I had the same op a few years ago. Shorten your walks, it’s probably you’re just doing a bit too much and still healing. I used to feel it badly the day after if I’d done too much. 

    Few more weeks and you’ll be amazed how far you’ve come. I remember being out of breath just getting a wash at first. 

    Good luck with your recovery x

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    • Posted

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your advice, I think I must be doing too much, I will shorten the walks as you suggest.

      I guess I just have to be patient with this, I expected to feel nearly back to normal at 5 weeks post surgery but it sounds like it may take longer x

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