Discharge Instructions for Open Hernia Repair
You had a procedure called open hernia repair. A hernia is a tear or weakness in the wall of the belly. You may be born with this weakness. Or it can be caused by the wear and tear of daily living. Hernias may get worse with time or with physical stress. But surgery can help repair the weakness and eliminate symptoms.
Activity after surgery
Recommendations include the following:
- After surgery, take it easy for the rest of the day. If you had general anesthesia, don't use machinery or power tools, drink alcohol, or make any big decisions for at least the first 24 hours.
- Don't drive while you are still taking opioid pain medicine, and don't drive until you are able to step firmly on the brake pedal without hesitation.
- Ask others to help with chores and errands while you recover.
- Don't lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (4.5 kg) until your healthcare provider says it's OK.
- Don't mow the lawn, use a vacuum cleaner, or do other strenuous activities until your healthcare provider says it's OK.
- Walk as often as you feel able.
- Continue the coughing and deep breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.
- Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect to return to work.
- Prevent constipation:
- Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, unless otherwise instructed.
- Use a laxative or a mild stool softener as instructed by your healthcare provider.
Bandage and incision care
Tips include the following:
- Don't get the bandage or wound wet for 48 hours.
- If strips of tape were used to close your incision, don't pull them off. Let them fall off on their own.
- Remove any gauze bandage in 48 hours.
- Wash your incision with mild soap and water. Pat it dry. Don't use oils, powders, or lotions on your incision. Don't soak your incision or take tub baths until your healthcare provider says it's OK.
Keep follow-up appointments during your recovery. These allow your healthcare provider to check your progress and make sure you're healing well. You may also need to have your stitches, staples, or bandage removed. During office visits, tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms. And be sure to ask any questions you have.
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have any of the following:
- A large amount of swelling or bruising (some testicular swelling and bruising is common)
- Increasing pain
- Increased redness or drainage of the incision
- Fever of 100.4° F ( 38.0°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
- Trouble urinating
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Persistent cough
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Leg swelling
StayWell last reviewed this educational content on 6/1/2019
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