Things To Do And Avoid After Hernia Surgery

Heeding the postoperative instructions after hernia surgery is an essential part of your care. Although each person is different, there are some general guidelines including things to do and avoid after hernia surgery.

Hernia Surgery Recovery Time

Returning to work varies with the type of surgery performed and it ranges anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks to 4 to 6 weeks. For the most part, it is based on your own ability and comfort level.

About two hours after your hernia surgery, you’ll be ready to stand and take your first steps. It’s important to approach your first few steps with caution, to allow your body to adjust. Standing and taking slow steps are very important in recovery. Moving not only helps improve blood circulation but also assists in preventing complications.

You should rest after surgery for at least 24 to 48 hours as it’s important to let the area of any incisions heal. Drink plenty of fluids and eat very lightly the first night home from the hospital. Resume your normal diet within the first couple of days as tolerated.

Expect some pain or discomfort at first and take any prescribed medications. You can also take Tylenol for mild or moderate pain as needed.

Expect some swelling at the surgical site and perhaps bloating. You can use ice packs or frozen vegetables on the site for up to 15 minutes per hour for the first couple of days as needed.

Check with Springfield General Surgery about how to keep your surgical site clean and showering. If there is gauze you may need to keep it dry for several days.

As for activity, walking is good exercise after hernia surgery and aids in healing. Climbing stairs is permitted in most cases if you feel competent to do so. Depending on which type of surgery was performed, you may be permitted to drive. This is usually within a few days after laparoscopic surgery and within 2 weeks after open surgery.

Incision care

  • If your doctor has placed strips of tape on the cut, keep them on for one week or until they naturally fall off. Alternatively, follow your doctor’s specific instructions for tape removal.
  • In the case of staples closing the cut, schedule a visit to your doctor within 1 to 2 weeks for staple removal.
  • Clean the area surrounding the incision daily using warm, soapy water. Gently pat it dry afterward. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol as they can hinder the healing process.
  • If the incision area is weeping or rubbing against clothing, you may choose to cover it with a gauze bandage. Remember to change the bandage every day.

Please note that these instructions are general guidelines. Always consult a general surgeon at Springfield General Surgery for specific care instructions tailored to your situation.

What To Avoid After Hernia Surgery

Immediately after surgery you should not take a bath or submerge your incision.

Activity restrictions until you see Springfield General Surgery include the following:

  • No strenuous activity
  • No lifting anything over 20 pounds
  • No sexual activity
  • No driving (especially while you are taking narcotic pain meds)
  • No hot tubs, swimming, or soaking for 2 weeks.

After you see your physician some of these restrictions may be lifted while others may be extended.

Signs Of Complications After Hernia Surgery

While hernia surgery is generally considered safe and effective, like any surgical procedure, it can come with risks and potential complications. In some cases, complications may arise following hernia surgery, which can be alarming and potentially life-threatening, call Springfield General Surgery if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever > 101 degrees
  • Redness and warmth that spread at the site
  • Excessive swelling
  • Bleeding and drainage from the incision with a yellow or green color
  • Pain that is getting worse

When should you call for help?

Call 911 if you are experiencing the following:

  • You have lost consciousness (passed out).
  • You are experiencing severe shortness of breath.

Contact your doctor or nurse advice line right away or seek immediate medical attention if:

  • You can’t keep fluids down or are experiencing persistent nausea.
  • You exhibit signs of a blood clot in your leg (deep vein thrombosis), such as:
  • If you have pain in calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
  • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin area.

You display signs of infection, including:

  • If you have increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the incision.
  • Red streaks extending from the incision.
  • Pus draining from the incision.
  • Development of a fever.
  • You are unable to pass stools or gas.
  • The pain persists even after taking prescribed pain medication.
  • You notice loose stitches or your incision has come open.
  • The bandage covering your incision is soaked with bright red blood.

Remember, if you have any concerns about your health or are unsure about your symptoms, it is always best to seek medical advice promptly.

Contact Springfield General Surgery if you have questions about hernia repair surgery.