While everyone recovers from surgery differently, most of our patients experience minimal pain after hernia surgery. The majority of our patients do not take prescription pain medications at all! It is encouraged to avoid prescription pain medication if possible, because these medications can have some unwanted side effects including constipation.
Most of our patients use only Tylenol and/or Motrin after inguinal hernia surgery. As a result, we have stopped routinely prescribing opioid pain medication after surgery, and instead rely on multimodal pain management techniques. In our practice, 91% of our patients manage their pain without opioid pain medications. We advise that our patients take both Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) together every 6 hours. Ice is an appropriate adjunct to medication for pain after hernia surgery. It can help to reduce some of the swelling as well as decrease pain in the area. Make sure to ice for only 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite on your skin. We often recommend icing the area through a towel, so that ice does not come into contact with the skin directly.
Patients should consult their surgeon or primary care physician prior to taking over the counter medicine for pain after hernia surgery. Some patients will have contraindications to these over the counter medications. We will work with you to come up with an appropriate post-operative plan for pain after hernia surgery.
We prescribe oxycodone for the patients who need it, those who have taken the Tylenol and ibuprofen, used ice, and still have significant pain preventing sleeping at night or getting out of bed and walking around during the day. This is only the case in less than 1 in 10 patients recovering from our repairs.