What can I expect after inguinal hernia surgery?
It will be necessary to rest for a while after coming round from a general anaesthetic, and painkillers may be needed to relieve the discomfort. People are also usually encouraged to get out of bed and move about fairly soon after they have recovered from the anaesthetic. This may be uncomfortable but, as long as they are reasonably careful, it will not cause any damage and will probably help speed-up recovery.
If the operation is a day case, most people go home within 4 hours after the operation.
A general anaesthetic can temporarily affect co-ordination and reasoning skills, so people are advised to avoid drinking alcohol or signing legal documents for 24 hours afterwards. We advise to avoid driving for a week after hernia repair so they will need to arrange for a friend or relative to drive them home and stay with them for the next 24 hours. You should take someone with you the first time you go out driving. You should feel comfortable performing an emergency stop before going on public roads.
Driving is possible within a week of hernia surgery
Before discharge, a nurse will advise you about caring for the wound and bathing, and arrange a date for a follow-up appointment (about six weeks later).
A high fibre diet is important to avoid constipation
Once home, painkillers should be taken as prescribed. Whether recovering from open or keyhole surgery, it will be necessary for you to take it easy for the first two or three days. You will give specific advice about resuming normal activities.
In general most people will be able to move around the home freely, but you should avoid strenuous exercise and lifting weights more than 10 kg. for the first few weeks.
A high fibre diet is recommended (plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals). This will help you to avoid constipation, which can cause straining of the wound and discomfort.
Most people continue to experience some discomfort in the groin area for a few weeks after the operation, but this will gradually settle and can be helped by wearing close-fitting underwear.
People who have a tension-free mesh repair are usually up and about the day after surgery, albeit that they are somewhat tender. They are usually over the worst within a week and most can return to work in less than two weeks.