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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​After Your Operation

​On this page, you can read all about what to expect during your hospital stay. Or, just click on one of the links below, to get the answer you want right now.


What will happen right after my operation?

You will wake up in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)​ for a few hours. Once you are awake and stable, we will take you up to the Gynecology Surgical Oncology Inpatient Unit.​

How will I feel after my operation?

You will feel pain at the incision sites (vulva or groin). Your pain will be controlled with intravenous (IV) pain medication that is given to you through a vein by your health care team. This is followed by pain medication that you can take by mouth.

What can I expect to have on my body?​

After your surgery you will have:

  • A cut on your vulva that has been closed with sutures.
  • An intravenous (IV) for fluids.
  • ​An oxygen mask, if needed to help you breathe.

You may also need to have:

  • A bladder catheter (tube) to drain urine from your bladder. Your doctor will decide when it can be removed. In some cases you may need to go home with a catheter. If you go home with a catheter, homecare nursing will be organized for you.
  • ​JP Drain(s) in your groin incision (cut) if you had groin lymph nodes removed. This drains lymph fluid and may be left in place for several weeks. Homecare nursing will be organized to care for these drains
How can I take care of myself after my operation?​​

Breathing
Right after your operation, your nurse will ask you to breathe deeply and cough. An incentive spirometer will help you to do that. This brings air into your lungs and helps to prevent pneumonia.

Eating and drinking
Your bowel will not begin to work again until about 1 – 2 days after surgery. Your health care team will tell you when you are able to eat or drink. You will begin eating on the first day after your operation.

Activity
​Most patients go home the day after surgery and therefore are up and walking. The first day after your surgery, the nurse will help you get out of bed and walk. Wiggle your toes and move your feet often while you are in bed. This helps to increase circulation in your legs and prevent blood clots.

Bathing
You will likely be able to shower in the first couple of days after surgery. Check with your doctor before taking a bath. The vulva can be a difficult area to keep clean. Using a perineal i​rrigation bottle after going to the bathroom can help you keep the area clean. This can be purchased from a drug store and your nurse can show you how to use it.

Constipation
You may experience constipation because of your surgery, the general anesthetic used to put you to sleep, and/or pain medication. You will be given stool softeners and laxatives to help with constipation. Try to walk as much as you can because walking helps you to pass gas and ease the discomfort.

How long will I stay in th​e hospital?

Some patients may go home the same day of surgery. If your doctor admits you to hospital after surgery, you will be in the hospital for about 1 day.​

​​​​​​Learn more about your stay