Laparoscopic and Open Groin Hernia Repair Discharge Instructions

Listed below are discharge instructions for your post-operative care. In general, most people take several days to a week off of work to recuperate after a hernia repair. You will most likely tire easily and have some groin tenderness for about 1-2 days. This is normal. Plan to take rest periods throughout each day as you feel you need them. Occasionally patients may have trouble with constipation because they are not as active the first few days after their hernia repair or because of a pain medication such as Vicodin. The constipation may be relieved by increasing fluid intake or by taking a mild over-the-counter stool softener or mild laxative. Your bowel function should return to your previous pattern within a week to 10 days. Generally patients find they are back to their usual daily routine within 1 week after laparoscopic hernia repair and that they are fully recovered within a month. Patients who have laparoscopic hernia repair usually experience less postoperative disability than those who have open hernia repair. The laparoscopic hernia disability time is reduced to 20 to 30% of the expected open hernia disability.

Medication

Ibuprofen (Advil; Motrin, etc.) one tablet every 4-6 hours, as needed, for mild pain
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) regular or extra strength 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed for mild pain

Vicodin (Acetaminophen with codeine) prescription only as directed for moderate pain (may cause constipation and occasionally nausea or abdominal discomfort)

Over the counter stool softener or laxative daily, such as Milk of Magnesia tm as needed for constipation. If you are predisposed toward constipation a stronger laxative may be required.

Avoid Constipation!

Diet

Increase your fluid intake to 8-10 glasses per day of juice or water. You may eat a normal diet.

Bathing/Showering

You may shower bathe 24 hours after surgery.

For Laparoscopic groin hernia repair:

  • Replace wet band-aids at port incisions (usually 3 incisions) with fresh band-aids.

For open groin hernia:

  • May shower bathe 24 hours after hernia repair. Leave clear plastic dressing in place.
  • Replace any wet gauze dressings with dry sterilize gauze dressing  at any hernia repair location.

Activities at home

Gradually increase your activity. Take rest periods as needed.
ENCOURAGE walking.
Get adequate amounts of sleep each night.
AVOID vigorous activity
NO heavy lifting (> 20 Ibs.) for 4 weeks.
You may do lighter aerobic exercise 3 weeks after surgery (e.g. biking, swimming, golfing, jogging, stair climbing, etc.).
NO sprinting, sit-ups or heavy weight lifting.
- If it hurts — don’t do it!
Patients who have laparoscopic hernia repair usually experience less postoperative disability than those who have open hernia repair. The laparoscopic hernia disability time is reduced to 20 to 30% of the expected open hernia disability.

Driving

Resume driving when you are pain free and off pain medication. In addition, you should not drive a car until you are able to deal with driving emergencies, such as slamming on the brakes or a caring for a disabled vehicle.

Care of the incision

Ice pack to surgical site for 24 hours over insulation, if ice pack seems to bring comfort.
May brace your incisions with a small pillow when coughing and/or sneezing.
May cover your incisions band-aid to reduce any irritation that may occur from contact with clothing.
MALES: May wish to wear “brief” type underwear day and night for a few days to minimize scrotal swelling and tenderness.

Watch For The Following Signs And Symptoms Notify Your Physician If any Occur

  • Temperature over 101.5F
  • Drainage or fluid from incision that may be foul smelling
  • Increased tenderness or soreness at the wound or the wound edges are no longer together
  • Redness or swelling at the incision site
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation
  • Swelling, redness and/or persistent pain in legs
  • Difficulty urinating

Sexual Activity

You may gradually return to previous level of activity. Certain positions may be more comfortable until incision heals.

Follow-up-care

Call the office of Dr. Vazquez at (312) 649-6562 to make a follow-up appointment for the week after surgery date.

Content reviewed and updated on September 26, 2014.