Are you scheduled for ventral hernia repair surgery? Preparing for your surgery is an essential part of the procedure. However, preparing for your recovery is important too. Have you thought about your diet while you recover from your hernia surgery? It’s no secret that your stomach will be sensitive after the procedure. Therefore, it’s imperative to modify your diet during the early stages of recovery. There are some ways you can improve your nutrition to help you recover faster.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can improve your diet as you recover from ventral hernia repair surgery.
- What Is a Ventral Hernia?
- Ventral Hernia Repair
- The Importance of Changing Your Diet After Ventral Hernia Repair Surgery
- Effective Diets for Ventral Hernia Recovery
- Basic Tips to Follow for a Speedy Recovery
What Is a Ventral Hernia?
A ventral hernia develops when there is a weak point in the abdominal wall. A ventral hernia typically develops along the vertical center of your abdomen. The weak point causes your intestines and other organs to push against your abdominal muscle layer. Previous abdominal surgeries thin the abdominal tissues and create a weak point in your muscles, causing a ventral hernia to develop.
You can also develop a ventral hernia if you strain your abdominal muscles. The following factors also contribute to the development of a ventral hernia:
- Chronic coughing
- Heavy lifting
- Strenuous physical exercise
Ventral Hernia Repair
Ventral hernias usually don’t go away without treatment. Surgery is the most effective treatment for ventral hernias. Without timely treatment, the consequences can be fatal. The dangers of forgoing hernia repair include blood loss the trapped tissues and organs, also known as strangulation, infection, and death.
At Orange County Robotic General Surgery, Dr. Abtin Khosravi offers ventral hernia repair. He is an expert in ventral hernia repair surgery and abdominal reconstruction. There are three types of hernia repair procedures he specializes in to repair hernias.
- Open surgery
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Robotic surgery
Dr. Khosravi provides wound care guidelines after ventral hernia repair surgery to ensure a speedy recovery.
The Importance of Changing Your Diet After Ventral Hernia Repair Surgery
Your abdomen will be sensitive for a few weeks after your ventral hernia surgery. Consuming the wrong foods and beverages while recovering from hernia surgery increases the chances of a reoccurring ventral hernia. Your surgical outcome also depends on how well you recover from the procedure. Hernia recurrence is likely if your abdominal wound does not heal properly.
Just as you should not participate in heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity after a surgical procedure, it is best to avoid eating foods that stress your digestive system and abdomen. It is crucial to stick to the nutritional recommendations Dr. Khosravi provides.
Effective Diets for Ventral Hernia Recovery
For the remainder of the day after surgery, restrict your diet to liquids. Some patients are sensitive to the anesthesia used during surgery and may experience nausea or vomiting. Solid foods can aggravate these side effects. Also, indigestion and flatulence are common after hernia repair surgery. A liquid diet minimizes these effects and can help keep you hydrated throughout your recovery. Follow Dr. Khosravi’s recommendations on when it is safe to resume consuming solids and certain fluids.
It is normal to experience constipation after hernia repair surgery. Constipation is a side effect of pain medications and the surgery; the procedure temporarily disrupts proper digestive function. Drink more fluids to avoid constipation. You can also increase your fiber intake through fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Many patients use stool softeners as well. Get Dr. Khosravi’s approval before using stool softeners.
Muscle Repair and Immune System Health
A ventral hernia affects your abdominal muscles. The same goes for ventral hernia repair. After your surgical procedure, increase your protein intake to encourage muscle repair and support your immune system. Protein also decreases inflammation which is essential as your body heals. Eat more protein-rich food, such as fish and meat. If you are a vegetarian, include more milk, eggs, and tofu in your diet.
A Balanced Meal Plan
Throughout the rest of your ventral hernia recovery, maintain a balanced diet, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods, such as fish, meat, nuts, milk, cheese, and yogurt. Avoid foods with high-fat content and low nutritional value, such as sugar drinks, deep-fried food, and desserts. Patients recovering from ventral hernia repair benefit from the Nissen soft diet.
The Nissen Soft Diet
Dr. Khosravi may recommend the Nissen soft diet for the remainder of your recovery. The Nissen soft diet includes food that can help you recover, as well as foods to avoid. It recommends foods that are easy to swallow to prevent choking since your esophagus may be slightly swollen after the surgery. According to the Nissen soft diet, here are some foods and beverages you should avoid:
- Carbonated beverages
- Acidic foods
- Alcoholic beverages
- Highly seasoned foods
- Bread with hard crusts
- Foods with hard seeds
- Coarse grains
- Cereals with nuts or dried fruits
- Fried foods
- All forms of pineapple
- Hard cheese
- Crunchy peanut butter
- Undercooked pasta, potatoes, and rice
- High-fat meat products
- Vegetables that cause gas, such as cabbage, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and corn
The Nissen soft diet encourages the following foods and beverages:
- Soft bread
- Cooked cereals, such as oatmeal and grits
- Cereals that soften in milk
- Scrambled, poached, or hard-boiled eggs
- Cooked or canned fruit
- Cottage cheese
- Smooth peanut butter
- Ground, minced, or chopped meat
- Moist, cooked poultry
- Soft vegetables
Basic Tips to Follow for a Speedy Recovery
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, here are some basic nutrition tips to ensure a speedy recovery.
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
- Avoid overeating as it puts strain on your abdominal muscles.
- Do not eat too fast.
- Chew your food properly before swallowing to prevent choking.
- Remain standing or walking for 20-30 minutes after eating to ensure proper digestion.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Do not drink through a straw.
The primary goal is to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your stomach and abdomen as your wound heals. Your stomach will be sensitive for a few weeks after your surgery, so be mindful of what you eat and how you eat it. Maintaining a balanced diet will also help keep your weight down. Your ventral hernia may return if you gain weight since this also strains your abdominal muscles.
At Orange County Robotic General Surgery, Dr. Khosravi will ensure you have all the necessary instructions for a successful recovery.
To find out if inguinal hernia repair surgery is right for you, Contact Orange County General Robotic Surgery at (714) 706-1257 for a consultation with Dr. Abtin H. Khosravi.