You had surgery to repair an inguinal hernia caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall in your groin area. You probably had general or spinal anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). You may have had a small hernia that was repaired while you were given local anesthesia (awake but pain-free).
Your nurse will give you pain medicine and help you begin to move around. Rest and gentle movement are important for recovery.
You may go home the same day as your surgery. Or you may spend 1 to 2 days in the hospital. It will depend on the procedure you had.
After your, or your child's, hernia repair:
Make sure you get plenty of rest when you get home for the first 2 or 3 days. Ask family and friends for help with daily activities while your movements are limited.
Take all of your pain medicines as instructed by the surgeon or nurse. You may be given a prescription for a narcotic pain medicine. Or the surgeon may suggest over-the-counter pain medicine (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
You may apply a cold compress to the incision area for 20 minutes at a time for pain for the first few days. Wrap the compress or ice in a towel. Do not apply directly to your skin.
Take good care of your incision and dressings.
You may also be taking antibiotics to prevent infection. Make sure you finish the medicine as your doctor told you to.
Pain medicines can cause constipation, so make sure you are eating some high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of water. Antibiotics can cause diarrhea. If this happens, try eating yogurt with live cultures or taking psyllium (Metamucil).
Give yourself time to heal. For about a week, avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, jogging, or swimming. You may gradually resume normal activities, such as walking, driving, and sexual activity, when you are ready. Do not drive if you are taking narcotic medications.
Do not lift anything over 10 pounds (about a gallon jug of milk) for 4 to 6 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay. Older boys and men may want to wear an athletic supporter if they have swelling or pain in the testicles.
Check with your doctor before returning to sports or other high-impact activities. Protect your incision area from the sun for 1 year to prevent noticeable scarring.
Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor as directed. Usually this visit is about 2 weeks after surgery.
Call your doctor if you have:
Hernioraphy - discharge; Hernioplasty - discharge
Malangoni MA, Rosen MJ. Hernias. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 46.
Updated by: Matthew M. Cooper, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Surgery, HealthEast Care System, St. Paul, MN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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