* Follow your doctor’s instructions. Eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure. Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight or in the morning before the procedure – this means no coffee, tea or water.
* Ask for closed surgery, following which healing has been found to be significantly faster compared with open surgery (Niger Postgrad Med J, 2004; 11: 79-83).
* Plan your recovery programme. Allow yourself time to rest and, if possible, ask others to help you with your day-to-day work. Complete recovery can take from two weeks to two months.
* Be vigilant about postoperative wound management. Wash the affected area with warm running water daily. However, some patients find sitting in a warm bath of salt solution more soothing.
* Take it slow. Don’t do any strenuous exercise, lifting or carrying, or stand for long periods of time. But do keep comfortably active, as this will help your bowel function return to normal.