After Hernia Surgery

Man and woman walking on sidewalk.You can usually go home the same day as surgery. If you had surgery to repair ventral or incisional hernia, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. To speed healing, take an active role in your recovery. The tips below can help:

Reducing swelling

Early on, it’s common for the area around your incision to be swollen, bruised, and sore. To reduce swelling, put an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a thin towel. Place the towel on the swollen area 3 to 5 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Managing pain

Take any prescribed pain medications as directed. Be aware that some pain medications can cause constipation. So your doctor may also suggest a laxative or stool softener.

Returning to normal

You can return to your normal routine as soon as you feel able. Just take it easy and follow these guidelines:

  • Take short walks to improve circulation.

  • Avoid heavy lifting for at least a week.

  • Ask your doctor about driving and returning to work.

  • You can begin having sex again when you feel ready.

Following up

Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments with your doctor. These ensure you’re healing well. During visits, your stitches, staples, or bandage may be removed.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • A large amount of swelling or bruising (some testicular swelling and bruising is normal)

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Increasing pain, redness, bleeding, or drainage from the incision

  • Trouble urinating

  • Constipation

  • Vomiting