What to Expect Before and After Hernia Surgery


A hernia surgery is usually a fairly minimally invasive one, the goal of which is to repair the weak tissue situated in your abdominal wall so that your intestines or other such tissue is not able to push through again. The earlier you choose to repair the hernia, the smaller the size of the hernia, and thus, lesser trauma from surgery. Surgery on smaller hernias need less recovery time, and that is why it is wise to seek medical attention sooner rather than later.

What to Expect Before the Surgery

Most surgeries for hernia are same day surgeries, which mean that patients are usually allowed to go home on the same day that the surgery is conducted. If hospitalization is recommended for a patient, they are usually discharged the very next day.

Preoperative tests

Most surgeons will suggest that patients undergo a variety of standard preoperative tests such as urine and blood tests. Depending on the health history of the patient, they may also be required to undergo an ECG and a chest X-ray, which are usually carried out a few days prior to the hernia surgery.

Discontinuing medications

About a week prior to the scheduled hernia surgery, most surgeons ask patients to discontinue the use of any medications, such as aspirin, that have blood-thinning capabilities. Certain prescription medication may also be required to be discontinued around 3 or 4 days before the hernia procedure, as to avoid excessive or abnormal bleeding during the surgery.

Other prescription drug regimens may also be stopped on the day of the surgery. The patient may be asked to take their regular medication with just a sip of water. Your doctor will be able to give you precise information about when to discontinue your medication.

Dietary restrictions

Patients are not permitted to eat anything, such as food, water, candy or chewing gum, from 6 hours prior to until the time the procedure is completed, if general anesthesia is being used. This decreases the likelihood of vomiting during and after the surgery.

Dietary restrictions may be different for spinal and local anesthetics. There are some surgeons who suggest that their patients follow the dietary restrictions for general anesthesia, despite which type of anesthesia is being used. For specifics on your dietary restrictions, have a chat with your doctor prior to the surgery.

What to Expect After the Surgery

Most patients will be ready to go home soon after their surgery. The staff at the hospital will check to see that the patient can walk, urinate, drink and eat. In some cases, the surgeon may prescribe pain medication in case the patient feels discomfort in the area where the incisions were made.

Most patients notice some discoloration or swelling around the site of the incision during the first few days after their hernia surgery, which is quite normal and is nothing to be alarmed of. The incision itself may be numb, tender to the touch, and bruised. Try not to wet the site of the incision while you shower for a few days. Avoid putting any strain on your incision, which occurs in conditions such as constipation. Drink lots of fluids and eat food that is rich in fibre.

Things to Avoid After Your Hernia Surgery

Doing hard labor
Lifting heavy objects

Call Your Doctor If:

You experience any of the following issues after you have returned home post a hernia surgery:

Excessive swelling
Difficulty urinating
Pain that doesn’t seem to subside

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