Post-op care after hernia surgery determines how long it will take for you to get back on your feet. While open hernia surgery requires four to six weeks, laparoscopic surgery reduces the time to two weeks.
So, what do you need to take care of during the recovery phase after hernia surgery? What are the instructions you should follow for faster and effective recovery? What are the restrictions to avoid complications after surgery?
First, understand that laparoscopic hernia surgery only takes about 30 to 40 minutes maximum and you can leave the hospital within a day. As the conditions of the patients vary, you cannot compare your recovery time to others. Once the anesthesia wears off and you can feel again, the hospital staff will check your current state. They will give you something to eat and drink and make you steady on your feet. Ensuring that you can urinate properly is also important. Only then you will be allowed to leave the hospital.
Start with Pain Medication
Pain after hernia surgeries is inevitable. You might feel sore for a while and start feeling the pain later on as you get home. The doctor will give you a clear prescription of pain medication before or on the day of surgery. Some people feel more comfortable with OTC pain relievers. So, make sure that you consult with the doctor regarding those medicines to ensure they won’t have side effects.
Prior to the surgery, experts will suggest you bring someone who can accompany you back home afterward. You need to focus more on your health in the first few days after surgery. Stay on the bed and avoid movements that involve your abdominal region. Keep a pillow to support the abdomen while you sneeze, cough, or vomit which is a common side effect of anesthesia. The incisions will be sore for a couple of days and seem swollen, bruised, numb, or tender.
All these symptoms will go after a while depending on what type of surgery you had, i.e., open or laparoscopic.
Shower & Wound-Care
After hernia surgery, you can shower as soon as 36 hours pass. The incisions are most likely to be covered and you can take the outer strips or bandage off before showering. Usually, steri- strips will be attached to the skin and it’s fine to get them wet during a shower. The tape will automatically start to peel off after 7 to 10 days. Once the incisions start to heal, you can peel them off entirely.
While showering, gently pat-dry the wound area using a soft and clean towel. Don’t bathe in pools or hot tubs for two weeks.
Diet To Follow
After surgery, you will immediately get clear liquids to drink to prevent constipation, vomit, or nausea. You also need to drink around 8 glasses of water. After getting home, you can advance to a regular diet like:
- Whole grains
- Green leafy vegetables
- Rich-fiber foods
- Items with high-water concentration
Along with this, you must avoid dairy products and foods that can cause constipation like meat, processed foods, frozen items, sugar products, and caffeine drinks.
Returning to your daily schedule also depends on the type of surgery you have. In the case of Open Hernia Surgery, the incisions will be comparatively larger than laparoscopic further restricting your movements. Hence, it will be better if you limit your activities to only the necessary ones and avoid all kinds of discomfort that can affect your incisions.
In the start:
- Have a proper bed rest for 24-48 hours
- Walk to the bathroom and short distances only for 2-3 days
- Gradually start getting up and walk as per your tolerance
- Avoid making sudden changes in your position like sitting or getting up with swift movements
- Don’t lift heavy weights for about 2 weeks or 6 weeks in case of open surgery
After one week:
- It’s okay to walk or climb stairs.
- You can have sexual intercourse
- Exercise is fine as long as you don’t feel pain
During the recovery period, let pain be your guide and tell you how you need to limit the physical activities.
Work & Driving
Every person has different pain tolerance. If everything is fine, you can return to work after one or two weeks. Driving is permissible after you stop taking the narcotic prescription. Wait two days before you get behind the wheel.
- No alcohol while you are taking the pain medicines
- Wear loose clothes to ensure the fabric doesn’t rub against the incisions
- Don’t strain during bowel movements
You can contact your healthcare provider to learn more about the do’s and don’ts after hernia surgery.