Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care: School of Medicine: University of California, Irvine

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Health Facts

Rectal Surgery

What to Expect for a Rectal Surgery

Types of anesthesia

General anesthesia, that means you will not know what is going on when the surgery starts. In rare occasion, you may get a spinal anesthesia.

Occasionally, you may experience sore throat after surgery but it should improve over the next 24 hours after surgery.

Day of discharge

You will usually spend overnight or a few days in the hospital.

What to expect after surgery and post-surgical care

  • Instruction for wound care will be provided to you from your doctor
  • Pain: you will experience pain at the locations where the incisions are made. The pain medication will be usually given through the intravenous line, but as you can consume food, the pain medication will be administered orally.
  • There may be a small amount of gelatin packing within the anal cannel that will pass with your first bowel movement.
  • Restrict your activities for the first 2 weeks following surgery
  • Eat a regular diet that contains no spicy foods and excessive alcohol. Consume food with additional fiber therapy or stool softener.
  • Have one or two bowel movements per day and follow the instruction for wound care
  • An upset stomach and occasional vomiting can occur. Please let your doctors (anesthesiologist and surgeon) know if you have history of nausea or vomiting during a car ride or after surgery.
  • No need for suture removal
  • It is not uncommon for rectal tags to appear during the weeks after surgery
  • Some bleeding and discharge from anal area is expected.

Activities (Please follow the detailed instructions given by your doctor)

  • Rest and increase your activities gradually over time
  • Few days (about the thrid day) after surgery, take a warm bath for 5 to 20 minutes
  • Take two warm baths daily and always following every bowel movement, if you do not have bath tub, you can use hand held shower head direct the warm water to the anus or simply purchase a portable tube

When to contact a doctor

  • Fever
  • Persistent low back and pelvic pain
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Continue bleeding from anus