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Recovery after Surgery

Average Hospital Stay

Open repair: Most people will be able to go home in 1-3 days.

Robotic Repair: Most people will be able to go home the same day. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

Right after the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicines. During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions clean and covered

Will It Hurt?

Acute pain and swelling are common in the first few days after surgery, but are tolerable with multimodal pain management and therapeutic activities. There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your incisions

At Home Recovery

Depending on your surgery it could take up to 8 weeks for the incision and muscles to fully heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time. You may need to delay return to work.

Inguinal Hernia Repair

  • Recovery is about 1-2 weeks.
  • We ask that you use your judgment and avoid strain to your abdominal wall for 3 weeks.
  • No heavy lifting.
  • No pushing, pulling or straining.
  • We encourage you to wear compression shorts after surgery to decrease post-operative swelling.

Ventral Hernia Repair

  • Recovery is about 2-4 weeks
  • We ask that you use your judgment and avoid strain to your abdominal wall for 6-8 weeks.
  • No lifting, pushing, pulling or straining.
    • Abdominal binder: (if applicable)
      • Please wear at all times when out of bed for 6-8 weeks
    • JP Drain (if applicable)
      • You may go home with the drain
      • Once the output is less than 30 milliliters (1 ounce) in 24 hours you will come to the office to have it removed
    • Prevena - Wound Vac (if applicable):
      • You may go home with a wound vac
      • The Prevena is an incisional suction device placed over your closed incision to promote wound healing
      • The wound vac will be removed in the office

Diet

We encourage high protein for wound healing and high fiber to decrease your risk of constipation.
Encourage adequate hydration

Activity

Activity as instructed, protecting your abdominal wall (weight/activity restriction)

Bowel Movements

  • Surgery tends to back your bowels up on its own due to surgical anesthesia, narcotics/pain control, limited mobility.
  • OTC stool softeners may be taken if needed
  • Please monitor your bowels closely after surgery especially if you are taking prescribed narcotics
  • You should be passing gas and have a bowel movement 1-2 days after surgery and resume your normal bowel routine

Pain Control

  • We encourage the use of narcotics sparingly.
  • We may proscribe a short course of narcotics for breakthrough pain.
  • We encourage you to transition to over the counter (OTC) pain medications as soon as possible (ASAP) such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen if appropriate.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicine
  • Problems with urination including bleeding that does not go away
  • Constipation not relieved with diet or over the counter medications

If you think you have an emergency, call 911.

References

  • Groin hernia in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/groin-hernia-in-adults-and-adolescents. Accessed January 8, 2021.
  • Inguinal repair surgery information. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.sages.org/publications/patient-information/patient-information-for-laparoscopic-inguinal-hernia-repair-from-sages. Accessed January 8, 2021.
  • Kokotovic D, Bisgaard T, et al. Long-term recurrence and complications associated with elective incisional hernia repair. JAMA. 2016;316(15):1575-1582
  • Laparoscopic surgery for hernia repair. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/6905-laparoscopic-surgery-for-hernia-repair. Accessed January 8, 2021.
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