How Long After an Appendectomy Before I Can Exercise?

Appendectomy is a common procedure performed when your appendix has become infected and painful. Following the surgery, is it crucial that you rest and refrain from physical activity for a period of time to allow your body to heal.

You should wait a few weeks after an appendectomy before going back to exercise. Credit: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

Recovery usually takes about two weeks, although you should consult with your doctor before resuming exercise to ensure you do not put yourself at risk for complications. Exercise after appendectomy will also depend on whether you have laparoscopic surgery or require an open procedure — using an abdominal incision of a few inches.

Tips

You will likely be able to resume exercise about two weeks after an appendectomy. However, it's important to follow your surgeon's specific instructions to avoid complications.

Read more: Post Appendectomy Diet

Overview of the Procedure

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure in which your appendix is removed from your body. The appendix is a small pouch attached to your large intestine. An appendectomy is usually done to treat appendicitis, which is a painful swelling and infection of the appendix. During the procedure, a small incision is made in your abdomen, the appendix is detached from surrounding tissue and removed, and the incision is closed. The operation usually takes between one and two hours.

Exercise After Appendectomy

You should rest and not participate in any strenuous activity for at least one or two weeks following an appendectomy. During this time, you should not exercise excessively. You will likely also have lifting restrictions after your appendectomy.

Keep in mind that you will also be tired after surgery, which can last for at least one week, according to the UC San Diego Medical Center. Take short walks several times per day as your initial exercise — this will also help prevent blood clots from developing.

Your specific timeline for exercise after appendectomy will be up to your doctor. Consult him before beginning exercise as he may prescribe more recovery time. Remember that resting allows the tissue to heal and starting too early can jeopardize your health. When you do begin exercising, make sure to start slowly, with low-intensity activities such as walking, and gradually increase the intensity.

Read more: 5 Things You Need to Know About Appendectomy Complications

Prognosis After Surgery

Appendectomy is an effective treatment for appendicitis and most patients resume their normal lives without any symptoms. You can resume your normal diet as soon as possible. You may be prescribed antibiotics to fight infection. Take all your medicine even if you begin to feel better early. Full recovery usually takes about four to six weeks.

Avoid These Complications

Infections can occur on the incision, so be sure to keep the area clean and dry. Change the dressing over the incision as directed and wash your hands beforehand. Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe or soak in water. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any complications. These can include fever and chills, swelling, increasing pain and excessive bleeding at the incision site, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and increased abdominal pain.

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