Pre-operative and post-operative care for Laparoscopic Hernia surgery
Pre-operative preparation before laparoscopic hernia surgery
Other than general preoperative preparation for any other abdomen surgery there are certain special consideration before hernia surgery specially to maximize success rate and to lower risk of infection and recurrence of hernia.
Before hernia surgery, treatment for the cause & aggravating factors of hernia has to be done eg treatment for cough, constipation and enlarged prostate. Patient should stop smoking. Other associated medical Conditions should be controlled such as diabetes, hypertension, leukaemia etc.
Laparoscopic surgery to repair a hernia involves making tiny incisions in your lower abdomen. From the inside of abdominal wall, the hernia is pulled back to its original place in abdomen. Mesh is placed to support the hernia defect.
Recovery from hernia surgery is similar to any other surgery in abdomen. However certain precautions are to be taken for diet and activity after hernia surgery.
Recovery & precautions after hernia surgery
The recovery period after hernia surgery depends on type of hernia, the procedure used by hernia surgeon and individual factors.
Usually 1 day hospital stay is enough after laparoscopic hernia repair, 1-2 days stay for open hernia repair and 3-5 days or more may be required for complicated hernia surgery.
Return to Work & Activities:
You may feel slight discomfort while walking specially up and down stairs for the first few days after surgery. At home try to return to normal daily activities as much as possible. Over the time as pain reduces you may resume regular activities as tolerated. Walking will be the best form of exercise.
Office desk job can be resumed in 3-5 days but strenuous activity or sports, which will cause stress on the incision site, are to be avoided for 4-6 weeks. Driving, long distance travelling is to be avoided for at least 7 days following surgery.
Generally, people can resume cardio work-out, running, jogging, biking, swimming and hiking after 2 -3 weeks of laparoscopic surgery.
More strenuous exercises involving the core (yoga, sit-ups, heavy weight lifting, pilates, etc.) may be resumed 4-6 weeks after surgery.
You may experience mild discomfort or pain for few days following surgery. Pain medicines are given.
Ice pack can be used on the wound several times a day to help to reduce pain and prevent swelling. Pain associated with a hernia repair may take several weeks to fully resolve. An athletic supporter can help minimize the swelling and pain in the groin and testicles.
Diet & Bowel Movement
To avoid constipation take high fibre diet with fruits and vegetables and drink lots of fluids and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A stool softener or fibre supplements can take is also helpful in regulating bowel movement.
If you are unable to have a bowel movement following surgery, a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia may be used.
Being up and about after surgery is also helpful in regulating bowel function.
Incision site/ wound care/dressing
Incision site (where cut is made) is closed using a special port closure needle and dissolvable stiches. A small paper tape covers incision, a gauze is placed over it and a clear water proof plastic bandage is used over it.
There may be some discoloration and swelling around incision site. After inguinal hernia surgery there may be some bruising & swelling of groin area which may extend to the genital region. (penis & scrotum in men and Labia in women).
Swelling and discoloration is normal and resolve over the few weeks to months.
You may shower at any time after surgery, no worries to wet bandage as it is water proof.
You should make a follow up visit in two weeks.
You should avoid heavy weight lifting anything greater than 10 pounds and strenuous activity that puts strain on your abdominal muscles for two weeks after standard/open inguinal (groin) hernia repair / umbilical hernia repair and for one week after a laparoscopic hernia repair.
When to contact the office
Please call the office if you experience any of the following:
- Persistent fever over 101° f
- Increasing swelling at the incision
- Pain that is not relieved by your medications
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Purulent drainage (pus) from any incision
- Redness surrounding any of your incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
- Inability to eat or drink liquids
Following surgery, you are encouraged to do as much walking as is comfortable. You may climb stairs, taking them one at a time and slowly.
You are not to operate a vehicle while you are taking pain medication. This will interfere with your ability to drive safely. Once you have finished taking pain medication, it is safe for you to drive.
Lifting heavy objects and exercise is okay two weeks after surgery, but if lifting causes pain in your incision or groin, please stop. If pain persists, call the office and speak with the nurse.
Although not commonly seen, any incision is susceptible to infection. If you develop a fever of 101 degrees or above, have unexpected pain, redness or drainage from the incision, please contact my office.
Your pain and swelling should gradually improve after the second postoperative day. Some patients will experience more swelling in the first week, expecially if they are very active. If your symptoms worsen after that time, please call the office.
If you do not already have a postoperative appointment, please call the office a day or two after you go home to schedule your appointment for approximately 2 weeks after surgery.
Hernia recovery during cold and flu season
The winter months bring lots of colds and sometimes the flu. If you find yourself needing to cough or sneeze, its often helpful to place a pillow over your incision. This provides some support and comfort, and will hopefully decrease your pain when you cough or sneeze. Sharp pain is not uncommon after a cough or sneeze, and lingering effects should resolve in a day or two. It’s very unlikely that the hernia will return as a result of this.
Call the office if you have questions or concerns about your recovery.