After pelvic exenteration, you will be in an intensive care or high-dependency unit for the first few days. You will probably stay in hospital for 2 to 3 weeks.
When you wake up after the operation, you will have dressings on your tummy (abdomen) and sometimes the area between your vagina and back passage. Your nurse will give you advice about how to cope with your dressings and wounds.
You may also have:
- a drip going into a vein (intravenous infusion) – this is used to give you food and fluids until you can eat and drink again, and may also be used to give you painkillers and antibiotics
- a fine tube going into your back (epidural) – this is used to give you painkillers
- a fine tube that passes down your nose and into your stomach (nasogastric tube) – this is to allow any fluids in the stomach to be removed, to stop you feeling sick
- one or more drainage tubes from your wound – these drain fluid or blood and are removed when the amount of fluid has reduced enough
- bags covering a colostomy or urostomy, or a tube coming from your continent urinary diversion (depending on which you have).
If you have had vaginal reconstruction, you will also have drains and bandages on the part of your body that tissue was taken from to make the new vagina.