Post Op Instructions
Post-op course and instructions for Laparoscopic Incisional or Ventral Hernia Repair
The greatest hurdle in the post-operative course of this operation is dealing with the considerable pain that it causes. This often surprises people because of the popular misconception that everything laparoscopic is associated with a quick and painless recovery. This is certainly not the case with this operation. It tends to the worst upon getting up and down from the sitting or lying position and vice versa, but any movement involving the abdominal muscles icluding laughing, coughing, and particulary sneezing, can be very uncomfortable. You will almost certainly take the pain pills, but keep in mind that the medicine is a narcotic that causes constipation in most people. For that reason, it is always a good idea to start a stool softener like Colace (over the counter) prior to surgery, and continue it until you have stopped taking the pain medication. It is also recommended that you keep your diet very high in fiber, with lots of fruit, leafy vegetables, prune juice if you can deal with it, and plenty of water until your first bowel movement. Most importantly however is to take the pain medication only if you feel you need it, and not in anticipation of pain or discomfort. With this operation specifically, if you get very constipated you may find the pain and discomfort aggravated, as you will strain to have a bowel movement, which will then cause more discomfort.
The pain is usually the worst the night of surgery and the next day. The second day is marginally better, and the third day afterwards the pain slowly but steadily improves until about 7-10 days when it is almost completely resolved. Most people stop taking the pain medication on the third to seventh day post-op.
You should try to get up and move around a little even the day after the operation. Just staying in bed increases the risk of developing blood clots.
The dressing is a breathable clear plastic and is best left on until you come in for your post operative evaluation. You may take showers with it starting the day after surgery. Avoid baths or swimming however as it will get wet if submerged for any length of time.
If there are any questions or concerns not covered here, then please do not hesitate to call any time.
Please call to make an appointment to see your physician within 7-10 days after surgery for a post-operative visit. There he will evaluate the surgical site and remove the bandage and sutures in the wound. It is not a painful process.