Inguinal hernias that are unresponsive to traditional therapies, such as massage, dietary changes, physical therapy and exercise, and hernia belts, binders, and trusses require surgery. Untreated, inguinal hernias can cause pain and swelling in the abdominal and scrotum areas that becomes progressively worse with movement, tissue necrosis (death), infection, impotency, and additional injury to the bladder, testicles and groin, and serious complications.
To make it easier for patients to prepare for their procedures, Dr. Abtin H. Khosravi offers this guide on dos and don’ts of inguinal hernia surgery after recovery. These post-operative instructions provide a general overview of patient nutrition, physical activity, hernia care, and medications. Adhering to these guidelines and those provided by the doctor can help patients recover swiftly with minimal complications.
Inguinal Hernia Surgery Post-Op
After surgery is complete, patients can expect to spend one to two hours in the recovery room for observation while the effects of sedation wear off. Once awake, Dr. Khosravi assesses each patient’s surgical site, vitals, and their ability to move and walk without assistance. Before going home, patients receive a custom personal inguinal hernia surgery recovery plan.
Everyone responds differently to surgery. The first 48 hours after inguinal hernia surgery is when patients can expect to experience the most discomfort and soreness. They may also experience a significant reduction in GERD symptoms after the procedure. It is common for patients to experience mild fatigue, nausea, pulling sensations and pain, and discomfort at the surgical site and surrounding areas as they heal.
After Inguinal Hernia Surgery Dos and Don’ts
Do rest. Proper rest is important, and patients should pace themselves. It is advisable to take a week off from work, school, or other physically strenuous obligations. Most inguinal hernia repair surgery patients can resume nonstrenuous work activities, exercise, and light household duties by the following week.
Don’t remove the dressing on the wound without medical clearance. The dressing needs to remain in place for at least 24 to 48 hours after the procedure to minimize the risk of infection.
Do stay active, but don’t overdo it. Surgery is a major procedure that requires patients to rest and take it easy during their recoveries. To promote proper healing, patients should try to remain as active as possible without overlooking their post-op care needs. Short walking and stair climbing sessions can help.
Don’t lift more than 10 to 20 pounds during the first few weeks after surgery to avoid stressing the abdominal muscles, groin area, and hernia repair. Avoid sexual activity until given the okay to resume.
Do maintain a healthy diet. Proper nutrition is key before and after any surgical procedure. Inguinal hernia repairs are no different. Increase fluid intake and consume more fruits and vegetables to maintain proper digestive and bowel function. Initially after the procedure, there may be a delay in the ability to pass gas and stools. Stool softeners can help.
Don’t ignore pain or discomfort. Dr. Khosravi may also prescribe narcotics for pain and inflammation management. Take all medications as prescribed. The use of over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can also help to minimize discomfort, inflammation, and swelling. Additional items that can also help with healing include heating pads, ice packs, and hobbies to reduce anxiety and distract the mind. During the first 48 hours, use ice packs to soothe the area. Pay close attention when using heating pads to avoid burns.
Do monitor and care for the hernia repair area. Some clear weeping or light discharge may appear during the healing process. Clean the area with a mild soap and warm water, unless advised otherwise. Pat the area dry. Allow any remaining skin adhesive or surgical tape to fall off on its own. Follow all wound care instructions to minimize the risk of complications. If there are drains and staples in place, Dr. Khosravi will provide specific instruction on how to manage them.
Don’t take baths, go swimming, or submerse the hernia repair site or groin areas in water. Showers may be restricted as well.
Do use a scrotal support if necessary to help minimize unpleasant sensations in the penis and scrotum area due to swelling and bruising from inguinal hernia surgery.
Do attend all follow-up appointments with Dr. Khosravi.
Don’t neglect any follow appointments or treatment recommendations. During all follow-ups, Dr. Khosravi assesses the hernia repair to ensure it is healing properly. Patients should inform him of any concerns they have at their exams.
DO contact Dr. Khosravi immediately at the first sign of the following symptoms:
- Pain, swelling, or redness at the surgical site or groin areas
- Decrease in urine output
- Nausea or vomiting that doesn’t resolve
- Coughing or breathlessness
- Pus that is white, yellow, or green
- Loss of appetite
- Fever of 101 degrees or higher with or without body chills
Short-term discomfort of inguinal hernia repair can cause trouble with belching, swallowing, or bloating. These side effects can develop shortly after inguinal hernia surgery often resolve on their own and do not require treatment. Additional inguinal hernia surgery complication risks include infection and damage to the organs and tissues (bladder, blood vessels, nerves, or epididymis in males) in the groin and near the surgical site. Inguinal hernia surgery complications are rare. It is extremely uncommon for repaired inguinal hernias to reoccur. In extremely rare cases, re-operation or endoscopic dilation is necessary.
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.