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This handout tells you how to take care of yourself when you go home after varicocele surgery.
What to Expect after Surgery
For about 2 to 3 days, you will feel pain at the incision and in the affected side of your scrotum. We will prescribe pain medicine for you or you may use over-the-counter medicine such as Tylenol®. Take your pain medicines as directed by your doctor. Your pain should get better after about 3 days.
You may notice increased swelling in your scrotum. This swelling may last for about a week.
Do not drive for 24 hours after your surgery or while taking pain medicines.
Your body will be using energy to heal itself. You might easily become tired. This fatigue will slowly improve, but you need to rest when you become tired.
Start taking your normal medicines again after surgery, unless you are using aspirin, ibuprofen or blood thinners. Check with your doctor before you start these medicines again.
Sometimes redness, warmth, or soreness occurs at the IV site. This can be relieved by putting a warm wet washcloth on the site 4 times a day. Call your doctor or nurse if this does not get better in 1-2 days or if it gets worse.
Leave your dressing on for 24 hours. After 24 hours, take it off and leave the incision open to the air. You will have steri-strips over your incision. These will fall off on their own in 1 – 2 weeks. If clothing irritates your incision, put a clean, dry 4 x 4 gauze pad over it.
Keep your incision clean and dry for 24 hours. You may shower after 24 hours. Do not soak in a bathtub, whirlpool, hot tub, and do not swim for 1 week.
Check your incision daily. Call your doctor if you notice any of these signs:
Skin around incision is red and hot.
Pus-like drainage comes from incision.
Fever over 100.5º F for two readings taken 4 hours apart.
Pain at the incision site after 5 days.
Heavy bleeding (the dressing becomes soaked within 1 hour).
Scrotum swelling lasts longer than 5 days.
No lifting more than 10 pounds for 2 weeks. Light exercise only, no jogging, aerobics, running, jumping, or heavy housework until your doctor approves. You may climb stairs if you go slowly.
Slowly increase your activity. Build rest times into each day.
Bend from the knees, not the waist, when picking something up. Keep your back straight. Grab the object with both hands and hold it close to your body. Straighten your knees, use your leg muscles to evenly support the weight of the object.
Ask your surgeon when you can return to work.
You can resume sex when you feel ready, but avoid straining.
If you are having any pain at the incision it means too much stress or straining against the incision.
Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after your surgery or while taking narcotic pain medicine.
If you have nausea, do not eat a full meal. Start out slowly with clear liquids, like tea, broth, or jello. You may add more solid foods to your diet as you feel better.
You can return to your normal diet as soon as you are ready. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, and plenty of fluids.
Avoid constipation as it may cause strain on the incision. You should have a bowel movement within 2-3 days after surgery.
Along with diet, you can use milk of magnesia or stool softeners to help with constipation. Patients often have constipation after surgery due to the medicines used during and after surgery.
Take an over-the-counter stool softener or laxative such as Colace®, docusate, pericolace or senna, or Miralax® for about 2 weeks after surgery. Follow the directions on the package. Stop taking if you have diarrhea.
Your follow-up visit will be made for you before you leave.
If your doctor has given you other instructions, please follow those instructions.
When to Call
Pain has not improved with rest, ice and medicine.
Scrotum swelling lasts longer than 5 days.
Increased redness, swelling, discharge, or drainage from your incision.
Excessive bleeding from incision (the dressing becomes soaked within 1 hour).
You have trouble or not able to urinate.
Increased bleeding or blood clots in urine.
Burning or pain with urination that does not improve after increasing fluids.
Fever above 100º F.
Who to Call
Monday - Friday
8:00 am-4:30 pm
After hours the clinic number will connect you with the paging operator. Ask for the urology resident on call. Give your name and number with the area code. The resident will call you back.
The toll-free number is 1-800-323-8942.
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