Post Op Instructions
Post-op course and instructions for Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair
In the hours after the repair you should stay relatively comfortable as the local anesthetic will keep working for 6-12 hours. When that wears off the area of the surgery will hurt with movement of the involved muscles. Particularly getting up and down from the sitting or lying position and vice versa. Laughing, coughing and sneezing will also incur pain. Take the pain pills as necessary, but keep in mind that the medicine is likely 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. With this operation specifically, if you get constipated you may find the discomfort aggravated, as you will strain to have a bowel movement, which will then cause more pain.
The pain is usually the worst the night of surgery and the next day. The second day is slightly better, and the third day afterwards is much better with each day thereafter showing improvement. Most people stop taking the pain medication on the third or fourth day post-op.
I would recommend that you get up and move around your apartment or home even in the first several days. Once you are upright, whether sitting or standing, you should be comfortable. Stairs are not usually a problem but you will be moving slower of course. It is okay to participate in any activity that is comfortable as soon as you feel up to it, including sex. Most people feel up to exercise within 10-14 days, though avoid anything that involves strenuous abdominal straining such as sit-ups or crunches, for up to 6 weeks. Low impact aerobic, and non abdominal weight training is possible when you feel ready. Start slow, of course.
Bruising and swelling is very common after hernia surgery, and can include the scrotum and penis. Don't freak out as it always subsides within a week and is not associated with pain.
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 in place starting the day after surgery. Avoid baths or swimming however as it will get wet if submerged for any length of time.
As the swelling subsides there will be a firm ridge at the site of the wound which will take weeks, sometimes months, to subside. This will eventually soften up completely.
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.