Hernia Patients Page

Information for patients planing to have surgery with Boston Hernia

  • This page is designed to reinforce information provided to you at the time of your consultation. Feel free to share with your family members as needed.
  • This page is not a substitute for an evaluation by a Boston Hernia provider.
  • This page has some repetitive material provided during your consultation.
  • This page has additional details to help you feel comfortable about your surgery
  • This page is comprehensive - please go through the whole page after your consultation
  • All of our staff are trained in providing answers to frequently asked questions that may not be addressed by this page.
  • We may determine that additional follow up is required before your surgery.

 

Ambulatory Hernia Surgery: Review of Benefit and Risk

Below is a video compiled from both literature review as well as our own personal experience. The data described is our best ESTIMATE of the benefits and risk of the hernia surgery we commonly perform. These numbers are derived from reviewing journal articles, as well as from our own AHSQC.org data. These numbers offer a range that we use to educate our patients on what may be the best approach for them. Since each patient has their own unique body and medical history, the benefits and risks may be higher or lower for each of the procedure. There is no substitute for professional medical opinion regarding a hernia condition. Unfortunately, a less than ideal outcome occurs in 1-2 patients out of every 100 patients we perform surgery on. Almost all problems are temporary, but some may be permanent. Only by monitoring every one of our patients, through the AHSQC, can we continually improve our practice and reduce the risks for future patients.

 

There is a very wide range of outcomes reported in the medical literature. We simplified some of the data to make it easier to understand.  We may change the data in  as new data becomes available to us. Some patients may be at risk of additional complications not described here including major complications like blood clots, heart problems, stroke or death.  While these complications are very, very rare, they can occur after any kind of surgery.

Centers that specialize will likely have better outcomes than the average.  Based on our analysis of the data, and our own experience, we perform mostly open pre-peritoneal mesh repairs for inguinal and umbilical hernia, under local anesthesia and with sedation.  This has been demonstrated over and over again to be the ideal way to repair these types of hernias for patients whose body shape allows. In patients who have more weight in their abdominal wall, a laparoscopic surgery which requires general anesthesia but allows the mesh to be placed in the same location is ideal. For certain patients, a no mesh repair or a Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair may be better.  This is a decision we make with each individual patient during an in person consultation.

 

Important Communications about COVID-19

Please review the attached letter here, as it has important updates about what to expect in the coming months

All patients having surgery are required to have a negative COVID-19 test 48-72 hours prior to surgery.  Our office will help you with getting the test done. After the test all patients must self-isolate in order to maximize the safety of their surgery.

How to self isolate after COVID-19 testing:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a new disease mainly spread between people who are in close contact with one another. The current guidelines suggest that “close contact” means less than six feet for about a consecutive 10 minutes or more. 

After getting tested for COVID-19 , you will be required to self-isolate until the day of surgery. 

What does self-isolate mean? 

  • Stay home. Whoever else lives with you should also stay home. Do not go to the grocery store or public areas. 
  • If you live with others, self-isolate in a private room and use a private bathroom if possible. 
  • Maintain six feet distance between yourself and others you live with when you must be in common areas together. 
  • Monitor for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 
    • Fever over 100 degrees 
    • Cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, respiratory symptoms
    • Loss of taste or smell 
    • Muscle pain, body aches 
  • Report any signs or symptoms to your primary care doctor. Contact our office or the center where you are having surgery before coming to the facility if you develop any of the above symptoms. 

On the day of surgery, you must wear a mask to the facility. You will complete a screening survey, attest to maintaining self-isolation and have your temperature checked. 

Please do not bring any valuables on the day of surgery. We will contact your ride home when you are ready to go, and we will review discharge instructions with them over the phone. 

We look forward to caring for you! 

The Process of Scheduling Surgery

Below is a video explaining the process of scheduling surgery in our practice.  Some of the steps include:

  • After appointment - pencil in a day when leaving
  • Review date with family, employer
  • Depending on location you may be required to register by phone or online
  • Healthy patients will get a phone screen
  • Patients with other medical issues may require an in person appointment with anesthesia
  • Patients with other medical conditions may require a letter from primary care provider, cardiology, or other specialists
  • Once all required information is available we can confirm the surgical date with you.

 

What to expect on the day of surgery

The video below walks you through the day of surgery including:

  • Arrive 1.5 hours before surgery start - this is very important
  • Who you will see before surgery - Anesthesia, nurses, aids, Dr Reinhorn and Lauren
  • Surgery will feel like a nap 
  • Discomfort after surgery explained
  • Leave facility 1-2 hours after surgery
  • Ride home - this needs to be set up well in advance. No one can drive themselves home
  • Pain management instructions - most of our patients only take over the counter medicines like Ibuprofen(Motrin,Advil) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Please make sure that you are allowed to take these medications and have them at home before your surgery. 
  • Postoperative instruction are available here - please read

 

 

Videos: Review of Types of Hernia Repair Options

FAQ's related to hernia surgery

In addition to the videos that you just watched, below are questions that patients often ask us before and after surgery. This was created to help you better prepare for the day of surgery and for recovery. While these answers do not substitute for an appointment with us, they are created to help you remember what may have been said in the office during your consultation

Questions related to the time before hernia surgery:

When do I come in for surgery?
Our office will email you, send you a letter or call you about your surgery time and date about 1 week before your surgery. A lot needs to happen in the hospital prior to your surgery, so in consideration to other patients, please come at your appointed time, which is about 1.5 hours before surgery.

What activities can I do before surgery?
You can do any activity that does not cause pain from your hernia. This includes going to the gym or general exercise.

Do I need to shave before surgery?
PLEASE DO NOT SHAVE AT HOME! We will use a clipper before surgery. Shaving at home increases the risk of infection and may result in surgery being rescheduled.

Do I have to fast before surgery?
The hospital will give you exact details, but generally, no food or drink is allowed after midnight on the day of surgery.

Can I take all my medicines before surgery?
Yes, as long as they are not blood thinners.

Do I stop Aspirin before surgery?
Not if it’s prescribed by your primary care provider.

Do I stop my blood thinners before surgery?
Typically, Yes!   Please discuss blood thinners during your preoperative visit as we will work with you and your regular doctors to come up with a plan specifically for you.

Can I take Motrin before surgery?
We prefer that you stop Motrin a week ahead of surgery if possible.

Can I have surgery if I’m antibiotics for anything?
No. If you have an infection in your body, it’s best to delay surgery. Please call the office if you are being started on an antibiotic and you are scheduled for surgery!

Can I drive home from surgery?
No. You must have someone drive you home and bring you into the house.  Uber or Lyft are not ok because they will not bring you inside your home.

Questions related to the day of hernia surgery:

What should I wear?
Wear loose comfortable clothing.

Do I bring my phone or a book?
You can bring both in case there is some down time before surgery.

Can I drive to the hospital?
Yes, but you can NOT drive home after surgery.

Can I drive home?
No. You must have someone drive you home and bring you into the house.  Uber or Lyft are not ok because they will not bring you inside your home.

Do I have to have someone with me in the hospital?
No. You can be dropped off and picked up.

Do I need someone with me when I go home?
Yes. You must be accompanied home by someone you know. You cannot take a taxi or Uber home by yourself.

Can I take an Uber, Lyft or taxi home?
Only if you have someone with you. If you do not have anyone that accompany you home, there are approved services that can pick you up and get you home.

Is there a pharmacy in the hospital?
No. Generally our patients do not need to fill a prescription after surgery. If you do need to fill a prescription, it can be done near home.

Questions related to the hernia surgery:

What is the name of the mesh I will have?

Open Surgery: We use the Ventrio ST for inguinal hernia and Ventralex for umbilical or ventral hernia.

Laparoscopic Surgery: We use 3D Max for inguinal hernia and Ventralight ST for umbilical or ventral hernia.

Is mesh safe?

Yes, it’s implanted in over one million people each year, with few complications

Is surgery different if I’m not having a mesh repair?

Yes - we will stitch your own tissues together instead of using mesh.  This sometimes take a bit longer, and you may have more pain than a typical mesh repair

How long will the surgery take?
About 45 minutes to 1 hour for a hernia that has not been fixed before. Up to 1.5-2 hours for recurrent hernias.

Will I have general anesthesia?
Patients who have a BMI of 28 and above will usually require general anesthesia.

Will I be awake for surgery?
No. Our patients are sedated enough to be sleeping comfortably.

Questions about hernia surgery recovery:

Will I be able to walk after surgery?
Yes. We want everyone to walk after surgery. Rarely, the local anesthesia we use can cause your leg to be numb for several hours. In this case, you will need to use crutches for a few hours after surgery.

When can I shower after surgery?

You may shower the day after surgery. There is waterproof glue on the incision. You do not need to keep this area dry.

When should I take my dressing off?
The surgical glue will peel off on its own in 2-3 weeks. You may pull it off when it is really peeling up at the edges and comes off easily.

Can I put a bandaid over the steri strips?
Sure. Some people find that a bandaid feels better. Sometimes a bandaid can help keep your clothes clean in the small chance a few drops of blood seep from under the surgical glue.

Can I go up steps after my hernia surgery?
Yes. Please take steps slowly and one at a time.

Can I lift a gallon of milk?
Yes, as long as it’s once or twice! You may lift up to 25 lbs as long as you are not performing many repetitive motions the first two weeks. Any repetitive activities can cause harm to your repair

Can I bend down to tie my shoes after surgery?
Yes, just move slowly.

Can I go for a long walk after hernia surgery?
Yes, we encourage it. Just avoid strenuous hiking trails and don’t wear a backpack.

When can I go for a run after surgery?
You can go for a run two weeks after hernia surgery.

When can I resume sexual activity?
You may resume sexual activity two weeks after hernia surgery.

When can I go back to work after hernia surgery?
You may go to work whenever you feel like, as long as your job does not require heavy lifting. Approximately 75% of our patients go to work within 3 days of surgery.

When can I go back to the gym?
You may return to the gym two weeks after surgery. Please use common sense and resume activity gradually.

How much pain will I have after surgery?

Everyone is different! Some pain, of course, is expected. Most of our patients feel that Tylenol and Motrin are strong enough to take care of their pain.  

How likely is the hernia to come back after surgery?
The chance that an inguinal hernia comes back after surgery is less than 2%. The chance that an umbilical hernia comes back is 5-10%. The chance that a ventral hernia comes back is less than 20%.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions related to your surgery, click on the link below:

FAQ about your surgery