Abdominal/Colon Surgery

Preoperative: Preparation

A bowel preparation is needed prior to undergoing colon or rectal surgery. You should have already received these instructions. Follow them as outlined.

NO ASPIRIN, IBUPROFEN OR ALEVE 7 DAYS BEFORE SURGERY unless otherwise directed by your physician.

Remember, nothing to eat or drink 8 hours prior to surgery (or as instructed by Anesthesia). You may however take your medications with a sip of water.

Postoperative: What to expect

As discussed, do not expect a return of your normal energy level or full recovery until approximately 6 weeks following surgery. But, every day should be better than the day before. Walking is the best exercise you can perform in the postoperative period. Each day, walk a little longer and a little farther than prior. Remember, no heavy lifting > 15 pounds for six weeks.

Your incision does not require special care unless so discussed in the hospital. You may shower/bathe normally. Do not let your incision remain immersed for > 10 minutes. Do not swim or use a hot tub until seen for your postop visit. You may experience a yellow or salmon colored drainage from your incision; don’t be alarmed. If you notice redness around your incision, foul or creamy drainage, call the office.

Unfortunately, pain is a side effect of surgery. Continue to take your pain medications as prescribed. Over time, your pain should be getting better and better. Around 2–3 weeks following surgery you should no longer be requiring the narcotic pain pills: rather acetaminophen/Tylenol or ibuprofen/Motrin should be capable of controlling your discomfort.

You may eat whatever foods you desire, but continue to maintain a low fat, high fiber diet.


Resume your daily fiber regimen and continue to drink plenty of fluids. Take the stool softener if so directed. If you have not had a bowel movement within two days following surgery, take 2 tablespoons Milk of Magnesia. If no result in 6 hours, take 1 tablespoon MOM every 6 hours until a bowel movement is achieved.

You may experience blood in your bowel movements. However, profuse ongoing bleeding would be uncommon.

A postoperative visit is needed approximately 2 weeks from discharge. Please call the office to schedule your appointment.

Call the office at 208-424-0280 if you experience:

  • temperature >101.5 degrees
  • redness around your incision
  • foul or creamy drainage from your incision
  • intractable vomiting
  • profuse ongoing bleeding
  • painful urination or foul urine
Patient Guides
In a continuing effort to provide patients and the general public with up-to-date and useful information about diseases of the colon, rectum and anus, the ASCRS offers a variety of educational materials and informational brochures here.
IPAA Guidebook
Everything you need to know to understand the ileoanal procedure.
Patient Instructions

Patient Instructions

Whether you are a Pre-Op, or Post-Op patient… find out what you need to know here. • New PatientsBowel PrepPost-Op InstructionsAnorectal SurgeryColon Surgery