Information for Hernia Surgery Patients

General Information

The purpose of this page is to cover what you discussed in your consultation in the office. We know we give you a lot of information all at once and we hope the following helps reinforce our discussion and let you feel as best prepared and educated about your surgery as possible. You can also use this page as a resource for your loved ones who may want to understand more about what is planned for your care.

Patients often read about “incarceration” and “strangulation” - terms used to describe hernia contents getting stuck in the hernia and cut off from their blood supply. The first thing to know is that this is not very common when a hernia does not cause symptoms. An emergency happens only 0.2% of the time when someone has a hernia that does not cause a lot of symptoms- there’s a 99.8% chance it won’t happen! If a hernia is symptomatic, the risk is higher. In order to be fully prepared and educated, it is good to know what signs to look out for that this rare circumstance could be happening: If you have a tender lump in the area of the hernia and are not able to push the bulge back in (try lying down and relaxing, then place gentle pressure on the area) and you have symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and/or not passing gas, your bowel could be stuck in the hernia resulting in a blockage and reduced blood supply to this area. You should go to the emergency room in this circumstance. Remember, this is not likely - so much so that we confidently tell many patients it is safe to hold off on surgery for many months to even years if they have a small asymptomatic hernia. 

We recommend fixing a hernia when it is increasing in size or when it’s symptomatic. Symptoms can vary - including sharp pain, dull pain, slight pressure or discomfort, and even mental discomfort knowing a hernia is there and bulging is occurring. When patients are told they have a small hernia at a doctor’s appointment without ever really having noticed it themselves and without it ever bothering them, we consider this asymptomatic and oftentimes recommend holding off on surgery until it becomes bothersome. There is a very high chance that it will become symptomatic sometime in the 10 years following identifying that there is a hernia. 

Hernia surgery is usually best accomplished with the use of mesh under the abdominal wall- patching the hernia hole with a thin flexible plastic which acts as a scaffold onto which your body builds a scar. This becomes the new strength layer in the area. That said, there are many ways to accomplish hernia repair and the type of surgery recommended to you will depend on several factors in your medical and surgical history. When you underwent a consultation in the office, your physician assistant and/or surgeon considered all of these factors and recommended a certain type of repair. Below we discuss the details of each of these repairs and the recovery you can expect afterwards. 

Important information about the cost of hernia surgery:

Boston Hernia is an independent practice owned by its providers. We are separate from the facility, hospital and anesthesia group that may be involved in your care

If you are not using insurance - Complete payment is due two weeks before surgery. Please use this link to pay.

If you are using insurance - we may require a credit card to reserve your surgery appointment. 

  • Patients using insurance typically owe Boston Hernia $500-$1500 for surgery after insurance pays their part. This is usually due to your deductible.  

Please click the link below that corresponds with the surgery repair type recommended by your surgeon. If any questions come up while reviewing the information, please call our office at 617-466-3373 to set up a follow up appointment. We want to make sure we adequately answer all of your questions and make you feel as comfortable and confident before proceeding with your surgery.

Dr. Reinhorn explains what to expect on the day of surgery


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 consultation visit as we will work with you and your other doctors to come up with a plan specifically for you.

Can I take Motrin/Advil before surgery?
We prefer that you stop Motrin/Advil 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 ST 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 type of surgery involves a longer and more painful recovery period.

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%.