You have just undergone minimally invasive surgery to repair an umbilical/ventral hernia. This involves making a small incision in your abdomen in order to gain access to your hernia or hernias. Permanent stitches are used to close the hernia hole.
Usually local anesthesia with sedation is used instead of general anesthesia, leading to a quicker recovery. Given no mesh is used to help support the repair, activities are usually restricted for around four weeks to ensure good healing and maintenance of a low risk of hernia recurrence.
Soreness, pain in the abdomen after surgery is normal. Pain will be worse with movement, changing positions from laying to seated to standing.
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 skin incision is closed with dissolvable sutures – these do not need to be removed.
You will either have surgical glue or a plastic bandage over your wound.
– If you have glue over the incision, this will fall off on its own 2-3 weeks after surgery. No dressing needs to be applied to this area.
– If you have a clear plastic bandage over your wound, this 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 or will be removed at your post-op appointment.
Your incision will turn hard about 7-10 days after surgery. This is due to scar tissue, and is a normal part of healing. This will soften up and return to normal with time. Bruising and swelling around the surgery site is also normal and will resolve with time.
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 the 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 4 weeks.
Avoid exercise, strenuous activity, lifting over 25lbs, and repetitive actions for 4 weeks after surgery. After 4 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 but most people wait 48-72 hours. In order to drive you must not be taking any prescription pain medications and you must feel mentally clear and physically capable.
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 postoperative appointment scheduled for somewhere between 3 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 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.
Printable Post-Op Instructions for Umbilical or Ventral Hernia Repair without Mesh