Recovery after an appendicectomy

Appendicectomy (surgery to remove the appendix)

After surgery, you usually leave hospital on the same day or the day after. This is called being discharged.

It's important to look after your wound properly, and not return to work or normal activities too quickly.

Looking after the wound

We usually put a special skin glue on top of the wound. This does not need an extra dressing. You can shower or bathe as soon as you like and gently pat the wounds dry. 

Do not pick at the skin glue. It gently flakes off in 5 to 10 days. 

If we use dressings, they are usually splash-proof. You can carefully wash or shower, but need to remove and replace the dressings if they get soaked. 

There may be paper strips under your dressing. You can remove all dressings and strips a week after your surgery. 

The wound may feel tingly, numb and itchy. You may also get a hard lumpy feeling as the new scar tissues grow. These things are part of the natural healing process.

Stitches in the skin usually dissolve and do not need to be removed. Your nurse tells you if this is not the case. 

Going to the toilet

It is common to have constipation (when you find it hard to poo) or diarrhoea (watery poo) after your surgery. It may take some time for your bowels to return to normal. 

If you feel constipated, it can help to:

  • take a mild laxative (a medicine used to help you poo) in the short term
  • have a high-fibre diet (you can find fibre in fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains, such as wholemeal bread and cereals)

Remember to drink plenty of fluids, so that you do not get dehydrated. 

If you are concerned, please speak to your GP.

Returning to work and normal activities

You can return to work and normal activities when you feel ready. This depends on the type of surgery that you had and the type of work that you do (physical work or non-physical work). 

We generally recommend that you take 1 to 2 weeks off work. You may want to go back to work sooner if you have a non-physical job. However, you may need more time off work if your job involves heavy lifting or manual labour. You can talk to your GP about this.

Follow-up appointment

It is not usual to have a follow-up appointment after surgery to remove your appendix, unless you have any more issues or complications.

If you have any concerns, please call the hospital ward where you were treated for advice. Your GP and practice nurse can also help with any questions or concerns about your recovery. 

Speak to your GP or go to your nearest A&E if you:

  • have leakage, redness, increased pain or other problems with the wounds
  • feel unwell and have a very high temperature, or feel hot or shivery
  • have pain in your calves (the back part of the lower legs) or are short of breath
  • are being sick (vomiting) for a long time

Resource number: 3691/VER3
Last reviewed: March 2022
Next review: March 2025

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns after surgery to remove your appendix, please contact the ward where you were treated.

Nightingale ward, phone: 020 7188 8865

Northumberland ward, phone: 020 7188 8866

Page ward, phone: 020 7188 8867

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this health information page useful?