Instructions After Hernia Surgery
You may notice pain, swelling, and/or bruising at your incision (where the surgeon cut your skin to perform surgery) and/or at the spot where your hernia used to be. The swelling and bruising may begin 1-4 days after surgery, and will typically go away within 2 weeks after surgery. Ice for the first 48 hours after surgery can help to reduce this.
Below are more detailed instructions, based on the type of surgery you underwent:
After Open (not Laparoscopic) Inguinal (Groin) Hernia Repair
After Laparoscopic Inguinal (Groin) Hernia Repair
After Umbilical, Epigastric, Abdominal Hernia Repair
You may have bruising and/or swelling at the area(s) of your incision. This is expected and usually resolves on its own.
There may be blood staining of your dressing or wound strips. This is blood left over from the surgery. No treatment is necessary.
Incisional pain is expected after surgery. Every patient may experience a different level of pain sensation. In general, most patients have acute pain that requires pain control for 1-3 days after surgery. Some require pain control for 1-2 weeks after surgery. Normal recovery involves a daily improvement in pain.
Ice is the best form of first-line pain control. Use ice packs directly on your incision, or in the area of your original hernia, starting immediately after surgery. Place the ice on for 20 minutes, and off for 40 minutes, while awake. The greatest benefit is in the first 48 hours after surgery.
If you require pain control in addition to ice, the following over-the-counter medications may be taken as second-line therapy, in addition to the ice:
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Over-the-counter pills are 200 to 220mg each. Take 2 pills no more than every 6 hours as needed for pain. Take with food and/or antacids to prevent stomach irritation. You may get a prescription for naproxen 500mg. Take only 1 pill up to 3 times a day. For some patients, Naproxen may not be recommended due to its side effects.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Over-the-counter pills are 325 to 500mg each. Take 1 to 2 pills no more than every 8 hours as needed for pain. These may be taken in combination with the naproxen.
- Homeopathic anti-inflammatories. We like to start these before surgery in order to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising. The regimen will be provided during your consultation visit.
You may also be given a prescription-strength pain medication by your surgeon. This medication should be used sparingly and only if your pain is not adequately controlled with ice and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Follow the instructions on the prescription for dosage.
The best therapy is combining the prescription medication with naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), as outlined above. Do NOT take the prescription medication together with acetaminophen (Tylenol).
When to Call After Surgery
- Pain that is not relieved by medication.
- Nausea for longer than 1 hour
- Fever greater than 101°F
- Redness, warmth, and worsening pain at the incisions
- Purulent (pus) drainage from any incision
- Difficulty urinating or burning when you urinate
- Watery diarrhea, more than 3 times a day
To speak to the On-Call Physician, please call: (310) 358-5020