You have just undergone laparoscopic umbilical or ventral hernia repair. This usually involves making small incisions on the side of your abdomen and one over the hernia. Your abdomen is then inflated with a gas and the hernia is patched on the inside with mesh. The mesh is held in place with tacks that are placed around the edge of the mesh as well as in an inner ring around your hernia. This type of repair always requires general anesthesia and local numbing medicine is also used.
Soreness, pain throughout the abdomen after surgery is normal. It can occur away from the hernia itself as the mesh extends and is tacked in place beyond the area of the hernia. 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.
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 incisions are closed with dissolvable sutures – these do not need to be removed.
Surgical glue is used to cover the incisions – this should peel off on it’s own in the next week or two. Please do not pick at it until it is peeling at the edges. If there is any bloody drainage from the wound it’s ok to cover it with a bandage to protect your clothing.
In some circumstances, a waterproof bandage is used instead of glue. In this case, please remove the bandage in 48 hours and leave the underlying steristrips in place. You can remove these after 2 weeks if they have not already fallen off.
Your incisions will become hard about 7-10 days after surgery. This is due to scar tissue, and is a normal part of healing.
You may shower at any time after surgery. There is waterproof surgical glue or a waterproof bandage over your incisions. You do not need to cover this. In the circumstance where you have a bandage, you can continue to shower after you remove your bandage.
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 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.
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, 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.