Discharge Instructions for Open Appendectomy (Appendix Removal)
Skip to Content

Nutrition

Click 'Back to Intro' to return to the beginning of this section.

Discharge Instructions for Open Appendectomy (Appendix Removal)

You have had a procedure called an open appendectomy. This was done to remove your appendix. The appendix is a worm-shaped hollow pouch attached to the beginning of your large intestine. During an open appendectomy, 1 cut (an incision about  2 to  3 inches long) was made in your lower right side. A longer incision may have been used if the appendix burst. Here are guidelines to follow at home.

Incision care

Tips for taking care of your incision include: 

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

  • Shower as normal.

  • 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.

Diet 

Diet tips after your appendix was removed: 

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

  • Take a fiber-based laxative if you are constipated. You may also use a stool softener.

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

    • 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

Activity

Follow these tips for activities: 

  • 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.

  • Slowly increase your 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 medicine.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than  10 pounds (4.5 kg) until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

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

When to call your healthcare provider

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

  • Swelling, oozing, more pain, or abnormal redness around the incision

  • Fever of  100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Chills

  • Increasing belly pain

  • Severe diarrhea, bloating, or constipation

  • Upset stomach (nausea) or vomiting

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath

  • Leg swelling

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.