Post-Operative Care

After the operation

After your hernia operation, you go back to the recovery area for observation and to ensure you are pain-free. After an hour or two you will then go back to the ward.

Going home

This will depend on how fit you are, who is at home with you and how comfortable you are after the operation. After an open hernia repair most patients should be able to go home either the same day or the next.

Pain

People vary a lot in the amount of pain they feel after a hernia repair. Most experience some pain for several days after the operation. You will notice some soreness and bruising around the wound(s), but this will gradually fade.

Painkilling tablets should easily control this discomfort. If not, we can give pain-killing injections. By the end of a week, the wound itself should be virtually pain free.

For most people who have no problem taking painkillers, the drug Difene at a dose of 50mg eight hourly when needed is sufficient for the first few days.

Mobility

You will be expected to get out of bed as soon as possible, despite any discomfort.

You will not do the wound any harm, and the exercise is good for you. It is safe to do any physical activity you wish as soon as you like. Patients who ‘get going’ quickly and try to be as physically active as soon as they can, do much better than those who take the opportunity for a prolonged rest.

You are likely to get aching and pulling as you become more active during the first month, as the tissues are stretched and become supple again.

In 2-3 weeks time, you should be able to return completely to your usual level of activity.

Washing

You can wash, bathe, or shower as soon as you like; the dressing is waterproof. If it becomes loose it can simply be replaced with a new bandage. It is probably wise to avoid swimming for about 10 days after the operation.

Stitch removal

In most cases the stitch will be dissolvable and there is no need for removal. If another type of stitch is used you will be given information on how to deal with this.

Driving

You can drive as soon as you can make an emergency stop without discomfort in the wound. This will take 1-2 weeks.

Work

After a hernia repair, you should be able to return to a light job after about 7 days, and any heavy job after two weeks. After an open operation, you may need to stay off work for 3-4 weeks, occasionally even longer.

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