Discharge Instructions for Open Appendectomy (Appendix Removal)

You have had 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 cut (an incision about  2 to  4 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 instructed by your healthcare provider.

  • 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 and your healthcare provider says it's OK.

  • If your incision was closed with small, white strips of tape, don't pull them. They will fall off on their own in about a week.


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 to prevent constipation.

  • Eat a bland, low-fat diet at first. Slowly progress to a regular diet as instructed. Foods include:

    • 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


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 until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Limit sports and strenuous activities for  1 or  2 weeks. or as directed by your provider.

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 advised 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

© 2000-2023 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.
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