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Post-operative instructions following gynecologic oncology surgery

The Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber provides a variety of services to help patients and their families cope with the many physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. We are committed to helping patients regain a sense of control over their lives and feel their best throughout treatment and beyond.


No heavy lifting for six weeks, nothing in vagina for eight weeks (no tampons, no douching, no intercourse). Do not drive for approximately two weeks after surgery or until you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication.

When to call

Call your doctor's nurse or page the gynecologic oncology fellow on call for a temperature greater than 100.4, worsening pain, nausea or vomiting not improved with medications, problems with voiding or bowel movements, problems with your incision, persistent or heavy vaginal bleeding, foul vaginal discharge, or anything else concerning to you.

Where to call

To make or change follow-up appointments, call 617-632-3669. If you have staples, you will also need to be seen by your surgeon's nurse approximately 10-14 days after your surgery for staple removal.

For questions about symptoms:

  • During the day, call your doctor's nurse:
    • For Drs. Berkowitz, Goldstein, Garner or Feltmate, call Joan Sullivan, RN, at 617-632-5523 
    • For Drs. Muto or Feldman, call Kathy Connor, RN, at 617-632-3260 
  • At night or on weekends, call 617-732-6660 and ask for the gynecologic oncology fellow on call.


Constipation is very common after surgery, especially because many pain medicines can slow down your bowels. Take colace and senna daily to soften your stools, until you have stopped taking pain medicine or your stools become unusually loose. If you haven't had a bowel movement in two to three days, try taking a laxative, such as milk of magnesia.

About prescriptions

You will be provided with prescriptions for the medications you have been taking in the hospital. Please note that many drugs require written prescriptions for refills. If you anticipate that you will need a refill, please call your doctor's nurse during business hours, two to three days in advance, so a written prescription can be mailed to your pharmacy.

Medical Oncology

If you were seen by a medical oncologist, you will need to follow up with them as per their recommendation.

  • If your doctor is Dr. Ursula Matulonis, please call 617-632-2334 for follow up and questions.
  • If your doctor is Dr. Susan Berlin, please call 617-632-5269.
  • If your doctor is Dr. Susana Campos, please call 617-632-5269.
  • If you are scheduled to receive chemotherapy as an outpatient, you may also receive prescriptions for medications to take before and after your chemotherapy. Please review them with your nurse prior to leaving. Feel free to call the numbers above with any questions.

Radiation Oncology

If you are receiving radiation treatments, you will need to follow up with their offices. For appointments, and to coordinate care, please call 617-732-6310 and follow the prompts. For questions and to talk to nursing staff, contact their nursing desk at 617-732-6231.

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