HERNIA SURGERY POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
PLEASE READ AT LEAST 2 TIMES PRIOR TO SURGERY!
After your surgery:
- Keep your wound dry for 24-48 hours depending on what your surgeon says. The dressing that is in place is a usually waterproof. After you take a shower inspect the dressing to make sure there is no condensation under it. If so you may remove the dressing and try not to disturb the skin strips underneath it. After 2 days, remove the dressing. At this time you may get the incision wet in the shower. Do not submerge your incision in water for one week from the time of your surgery.
- You may walk, and you may walk up and down stairs after surgery. You are encouraged to be as active as possible after surgery. Try to avoid the natural tendency to stay in bed or on the couch all day. The faster you are up and ambulating, the faster you recovery will be.
- It is usually helpful to use an ice pack on the region of your surgery for the first 24 hours after surgery, or an ice pack 3-5 times per day for 30 minutes for the four days after surgery.
- You will be given a prescription for pain medication and are encouraged to use this medication as directed. This will help minimize your post-operative pain and allow you to remain active.
- Please notify my office of excessive redness, drainage, swelling or bruising at the site of your incision. It is not uncommon to have swelling of the scrotum or penis.
- Please make an appointment to be seen in the office approximately 7-14 days from the time of your surgery for suture removal and to have your wound checked.
- Do not hesitate to take an over-the-counter laxative for the first week after surgery. Acceptable agents are Dulcolax tablets, Milk of Magnesia and Metamucil. Many other over-the -counter agents are also safe and effective. Please use your own discretion. Constipation is common after an inguinal hernia repair, and also may be worsened by pain medications. Consequently, do not hesitate to take these agents in an effort to prevent a problem with post-operative constipation. It is usually advisable to take a laxative for the first two to three days after surgery, whether you are constipated or not, in an effort to prevent a problem.
- Driving vehicles: for the first few days after surgery we discourage driving except in emergencies. One individual may be ready to drive after three days and another after two weeks. We give no specific time when driving may commence. We asked that you exercise common sense and make sure that you are safe time the wheel. Make sure that you can step on the brake without hesitation, vigorously turn the steering wheel and look over both shoulders for cars in the blind spot.
- Sitting: for several days after surgery sitting may be uncomfortable. You may have to get up and move around and change positions periodically.
- Stairs: no limitations
- Lifting: for the first week lifting is limited to 20 pounds. This is gradually increased to 40 pounds at 14 days with unrestricted lifting after 30 days.
- Return to work, school, and housework: generally resume limited activities in about seven days. Full duties may be resumed after 14 days.
- Step ladders and stools: avoid these and other awkward places for at least 10 days.
- Walking: generally you can resume walking as much as you feel comfortable walking starting the day after surgery. There is no specific limitation. The important thing to remember is to listen to your body. If you are hurting slow down and give it a rest.
- Impact sports: be very cautious here. Generally start activities such as jogging or aerobics no sooner than two weeks. Without discussing specific activities if you feel like doing it give it a try however remember to listen to your body. If it hurts stop doing it and try it again a few days later.
- Sex: began cautiously, no sooner than seven days after surgery. If it hurts then stop.
- Lungs: for the first 24 hours after surgery take frequent deep breaths and cough hard three times every hour. This will help prevent pneumonia.
- Support: men will usually be more comfortable after groin hernia surgery wearing support underwear such as jockey shorts to support the testicle which may be temporarily sore and swollen.
- Dressing changes: remove the dressing at about 48 hours after surgery. Do not use antiseptics or ointments. Do not disturb the skin strips. Placing another dressing on the wound is optional. It may be necessary if there is some drainage.
- Bath/shower: you may get in the shower after 48 hours. Do not submerse the wound underwater for one week after surgery.
- Wound symptoms: notify us if there is increasing soreness, swelling, drainage or redness of the wound.
- General: there are no specific dietary restrictions
- Bulk and roughage: bran or Metamucil may be helpful in avoiding constipation
- Pain: you will be given prescriptions for pain medication. You should have this filled and take it as directed. If you feel that you no longer need the prescription pain medication then the usual doses of Tylenol or Advil or aspirin can be used.
- Sleep: over-the-counter Benadryl 25 to 50 milligrams at bedtime is usually enough. If not call us.
- Laxatives: over-the-counter laxatives such as milk of Magnesia, mineral oil Metamucil etc. are acceptable. Try not to go over 72 hours without having a bowel movement.
- Vitamins: no specific recommendations. Vitamin C. or vitamin E may be helpful.
- Other medications: resume all the medications that you were on prior to surgery.
- You must arrange for someone to be with you for the first several days after surgery.
- After surgery you will be much weaker, more forgetful and less peppy than you expect. Do not be alarmed. This is normal and will improve over the next few weeks to few months.
- If you have been sent home with elastic stockings continue to wear them until you are active and out of bed at least eight hours per day.
- Check your oral temperature every evening.
- Call us if:
- The wound is more swollen, sore or read or there is increasing drainage requiring dressing changes.
- Your temperature is over 101 degrees Fahrenheit within 24 hours after surgery or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit after that.
- You have any sudden or persistent new pain anywhere except in the incision. If you sneeze or cough violently your incision will hurt more than it has in several days. This is not cause for alarm. Most hernia repairs will have some discomfort for up to six months after surgery.
- You have questions about this or anything else
- If you have problems emptying your bladder
- Our answering service can be reached by calling 770-696-3586
- You should already have an appointment for your first postoperative visit approximately one week from the date of your surgery. If you do not have an appointment please call to make one.
- If possible please bring a copy of your hospital bill so that we can stay up-to-date on hospital costs