You have just undergone laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. This involves making small incisions higher up in your abdomen, inflating your abdomen with a gas, and working from the inside to get to the layer of the abdominal wall where the hernia hole is present. The hernia is then patched on the inside with mesh. This type of repair always requires general anesthesia and local numbing medicine is also used.
The incisions are closed with dissolvable sutures – these do not need to be removed. You have glue over your incisions with dissolvable stitches under the skin. You should leave this glue in place as long as it is well stuck in the area. If it peels up at the edges (usually 10-14 days after surgery), you may pull it off. Otherwise it will fall off on its own.
Your incisions may feel 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.
Some patients will feel a firm lump in the area where their hernia used to bulge. Most of the time this is fluid in this area – called a “seroma” – this will resolve within a few months.
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.
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 pus draining 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.
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.
You may shower at any time after surgery.
Please avoid baths, hot tubs, pools, or soaking in water for 2 weeks after surgery, as this can increase your risk of an infection.
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.
Soreness or pain at the incisions, 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 testicles 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.
We recommend taking the following every 6 hours for the first few days after surgery as needed (both can be taken together at the same time):
– 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 Metamucil)
– Stool softener (Colace) or natural laxative (Senokot)
– Laxative only if unable to have a bowel movement for a few days (Milk of Magnesia)
The winter months bring lots of colds and sometimes the flu. If you find yourself needing to cough or sneeze, it’s often helpful to place a pillow or your hand over your incisions. 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.
The above information is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional evaluation by an experienced surgeon.