You have just undergone minimally invasive surgery to repair a groin hernia. This involves making a small incision in your lower abdomen in order to gain access to your hernia or hernias. From the inside of your abdominal wall, the hernia is reduced back inside the abdominal cavity and a large piece of mesh is placed inside your abdomen in order to repair the hernia defect from the inside.
The end result of this repair is identical to laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, but the procedure is less invasive. There is less dissection involved and local anesthesia with sedation is used instead of general anesthesia, leading to a quicker recovery.
Soreness, pain in the lower abdomen and groin after surgery is normal. Pain will be worse with movement, changing positions from laying to seated to standing. Male patients may notice new pain in the testicle after surgery. This is normal and will go away over time.
Most of our patients take only tylenol and ibuprofen for pain management after surgery. Applying ice to the surgery site for 20 min at a time can also be helpful.
We recommend taking the following every 6 hours for the first few days after surgery as needed:
- 650mg to 1g of acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- 400mg to 600mg of ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)
If you are experiencing significant pain that is preventing you from going on a walk or falling asleep, please call the office for a prescription for oxycodone. This medication will cause constipation, so we recommend the following:
- Fiber supplement (Citrucel or Benefiber)
- Stool softener (Colace, Senakot)
- Laxative only if unable to have a bowel movement for a few days (Milk of Magnesia)
The incision is closed with dissolvable sutures – these do not need to be removed.
The top plastic bandage should be removed in 48 hours. You do not need to replace this bandage. The steri strips (tape bandage) underneath should be left on. These will fall off on their own in about 2 weeks. If they do not fall off by the time of your post op phone call, please remove them yourself.
Your incision will turn hard about 7-10 days after surgery. This is due to scar tissue, and is a normal part of healing.
Bruising in the groin and genitals is normal after surgery. MALE patients may find that your scrotum or penis will become discolored, and you will have swelling in the region of your hernia and incision. FEMALE patients may find that your labia will become swollen and discolored. This discoloration and swelling will resolve with time.
Many patients have used Arnica Montana, either as a gel or orally, to reduce swelling and bruising after surgery. Arnica is a safe, homeopathic medicine that works well in many patients. Most natural food stores will carry it.
You may shower at any time after surgery. There is a waterproof bandage over your incision. Once this bandage is removed (48 hours after surgery), you can continue to shower with the steri strips over the incision. You do not need to put a new dressing over top.
Please avoid baths, hot tubs, pools, or soaking in water for 2 weeks after surgery, as this can increase your risk of an infection.
Following surgery, you are encouraged to do as much walking as is comfortable. You may climb stairs, taking them one at a time and slowly. We recommend walking at a leisurely pace for the first 2 weeks.
Avoid exercise, strenuous activity, lifting over 25lbs, and repetitive actions for 2 weeks after surgery. After 2 weeks, you may slowly resume these activities, but do so slowly and progressively, and listen to your body if it is telling you to stop or slow down.
You may drive 24 hours after surgery if you feel up to it, as long as you are not taking any prescription pain medications. We typically recommend you avoid driving for 48-72 hours unless necessary.
Although not commonly seen, any incision is susceptible to infection. If you develop a fever of 101 degrees or above, have unexpected pain, redness or drainage from the incision, please contact our office.
Your pain and swelling should gradually improve after the second or third postoperative day. If you have new, constant pain after feeling good for a couple of days, please contact our office.
You will have a post-operative appointment scheduled for somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks after surgery. If this has not been scheduled yet, or if you need to reschedule, please contact our office.
The winter months bring lots of colds and sometimes the flu. If you find yourself needing to cough or sneeze, its often helpful to place a pillow over your incision. This provides some support and comfort, and will hopefully decrease your pain when you cough or sneeze. Sharp pain is not uncommon after a cough or sneeze, and lingering effects should resolve in a day or two. It’s very unlikely that the hernia will return as a result of this.
Here are some Common FAQ’s our patients ask before and after surgery.
Preperitoneal Inguinal Hernia Repair Post-op Instructions