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Discharge Instructions for Open Appendectomy (Appendix Removal)

You have had a procedure known as an open appendectomy to remove your appendix. The appendix is a worm-shaped hollow pouch attached to the beginning of your large intestine. During an open appendectomy one incision (about 2 to 3 inches long) was made in your lower right side. A longer incision may have been used if the appendix ruptured. Here are guidelines to follow at home.

Incision Care

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes. This will help you be more comfortable and cause less irritation around your incision.

  • Shower as usual.

  • Gently wash around your incision with soap and water.

  • Don’t bathe or soak in a tub or swim in a pool until your incisions are well healed.

  • If your incision was closed with small white strips of tape, leave them in place for 10 days.


  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, unless directed otherwise.

  • Take a fiber-based laxative if you are constipated.

  • Eat a bland, low-fat diet, such as the following:

    • Mashed potatoes

    • Plain toast or bread, crackers

    • Soup

    • Plain spaghetti

    • Rice

    • Macaroni (plain or with cheese)

    • Cottage cheese

    • Pudding

    • Low-fat yogurt

    • Low-fat milk

    • Canned fruit (except pineapple)

    • Very ripe bananas


  • If you had general anesthesia, don’t operate machinery or power tools, drink alcohol, or make major decisions for at least the first 24 hours.

  • Gradually increase activity level to help with your recovery. Start by doing light activities around your home once you feel able to do so.

  • Don’t drive until you are no longer taking prescription pain medication.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds until your doctor says it’s OK.

  • Limit sports and strenuous activities for 1 or 2 weeks.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Swelling, oozing, increased pain, or unusual redness around the incision

  • Fever of 101.5°F (38.5°C) or higher

  • Increasing abdominal pain

  • Severe diarrhea, bloating, or constipation

  • Nausea or vomiting


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