General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Activity Guidelines

You can do whatever you are comfortable doing once you have been discharged. You cannot cause any serious damage by your activities after surgery. Nonetheless, use common sense, don't overexert yourself and don't lift more than 15-20 pounds.

Here are some guidelines:

  • You will most likely not want to do much for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Although you should get rest during this time, it is equally important to get up and walk.
  • Do not drive while you are taking narcotic pain medicines or while your incisions hurt. This may reduce your ability to move quickly. 
  • Your thought processes may take 24 to 48 hours to return to normal because of anesthesia. Do not make any important business or personal decisions during this time.
  • It is okay to go up and down stairs, and it is encouraged.
  • You can return to work when you feel comfortable that you can perform your job safely and at the level you and your employer expect. Usually, this is a minimum of one week. If your job involves heavy lifting you should stay out of work for 2-4 weeks.
  • Most people find they fatigue easily during the second and even the third week, so don't overload your schedule.
  • Do not return to exercise or strenuous activity until you are seen for a  follow-up.