What to Expect: Recovering from operations on your back passage

After an operation on haemorrhoids, a pilonidal cyst, fissure or fistula or any condition affecting the anus or bottom, it’s not surprising that the recovery from surgery is often the main cause of concern for prospective patients.

So, what can you expect during the anal surgery recovery phase and what will you need to do to look after yourself whilst you recover? We offer some advice which we feel would be helpful.

Recovering from surgery: Taking care of the wound

You will most often have a wound around your back passage or buttock that will take time to heal after your operation. The first question is how best to look after the wound.

  1. Keeping it clean:  It is best to gently wipe your yourself clean after opening your bowels and consider sitting in a warm bath or gently rinsing the area in the shower. You may get a bit of blood stained discharge from the wound which is normal.
  2. Dressings: It is difficult to apply dressing to cover wounds in that area. The options include using a piece of clean gauze taped up or a sticky dressing. These might have been provided to you at the time of discharge. The alternative is to wear a sanitary napkin or small incontinence pad in your underwear to soak up any discharge from the wound. Wounds in the area might take up to 6 weeks to heal.  

It is important to avoid using any potential irritants on the wound such as talcum powder or perfumed wet wipes.

When going to the toilet, in the first couple of weeks prior to the surgery, it’s common for the wound to present some discharge or bleeding.

Your nurses or surgeon will offer you any special advice on managing the wound during anal surgery recovery. Feel free to ask them if they have any special instructions for you at the time of your operation or at discharge.

Recovering from surgery: The medications you may need

To relieve any pain, Ibuprofen or paracetamol are usually enough to ease it. However, you may need codeine-based pain relief as recovery after some operations can be very painful. If you take any tablets with codeine, you will also need prescribed laxatives to prevent constipation and keep your bowels moving and soft.

Finally, the surgeon may prescribe Prophylactic antibiotics to prevent against infection both before and after the surgery.

Recovering from surgery: How long will you need to rest?

Patients are advised to get plenty of rest for the first few days. You’ll want to avoid sitting and walking around for long periods of time and ensure you wear loose-fitting clothing.

Recovering from surgery: Resuming normal activities

While the wound can take up to six weeks to heal fully, patients should be able to return to normal activities within a week or so, building up gradually. In four weeks you should be able to return to your full range of activities.

If you have any concerns about undertaking strenuous activity during your anal surgery recovery, please ask your doctor or surgeon. Each patient is different, as is the operation, so it’s important to follow the recovery advice given to you specifically by the surgeon.

The above are the most important instructions to follow when recovering from any operation your back passage. However, if you notice heavy bleeding coming from the wound, nausea, constipation, a fever or increased pain, you should seek immediate advice from your surgeon. They will be able to assess the wound and prescribe any medications which may be needed to eliminate the symptoms.