Medical Q&As

Laparotomy - what is it?

I had a laporatomy 16 days ago. I still have swelling and internal pain although the wound has healed very well. Is this normal?

The term laparotomy means making an incision in the abdominal wall in order to obtain access to the contents of the abdominal cavity. You havenít indicated why you underwent a laparotomy. It could have been to perform surgery on the stomach, small intestine or the colon. Sometimes a laparotomy is performed in order to make a diagnosis although this is less often the case nowadays with improved imaging techniques that allow you to look inside the abdomen without literally having to open it. It would not be unusual to experience some discomfort 16 days after surgery however this would depend on the extent of surgery that was performed. It is also common to have some degree of swelling especially around the margins of the wound. That area would still be tender to the touch. I would expect you to have some symptoms at 16 days post surgery however I would have thought that your symptoms should be reducing as each day passes.