You have just undergone surgery to repair a hernia. This involves making an incision at the site of the hernia to return the content of the hernia sac to the abdominal cavity. The torn or weakened wall of the abdominal cavity is then repaired by suturing the surrounding muscle and ligaments and placing a synthetic mesh to reinforce the repair.
Upon discharge from the hospital, you will be given a prescription for pain medication. Because pain medication can be constipating, be sure to drink lots of fluids and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. It will also be helpful to take a stool softener such as Colace, Metamucil or Citrucel once or twice a day, if you are constipated.
If you are unable to have a bowel movement following surgery, a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia may be used. Being up and about after surgery is also helpful in regulating bowel function. To minimize when you are moving about, support your incision with a small pillow or rolled up towel. Sleeping with a pillow under or between your knees will relieve stress on the incision area.
Your incision is closed using a number of dissolvable sutures below the skin surface which are dissolvable. You may find that your incision is swollen following surgery and could have some discoloration which can extend down into the groin area. This does not mean your hernia was not repaired. This swelling and discoloration is normal and will resolve over the next several weeks to months.
Many patients experience areas of numbness around the incision as a result of handling the sensory nerve to the groin during surgery. This too will resolve with time.
You are asked to keep the outer dressing over the incision dry and in place for one day following surgery. On the day after surgery, remove the outer dressing. It is now safe for you to get into the shower.
Be careful not to scrub at the incision line, simply let the water run over the incision and gently pat the area dry.
Following surgery, you are encouraged to do as much walking as is comfortable. You may climb stairs, taking them one at a time and slowly.
You are not to operate a vehicle while you are having discomfort or taking pain medication. This will interfere with your ability to drive safely. Your surgeon will tell you when it is safe to resume driving.
You are asked not to do any lifting over 25 pounds for the first four weeks following surgery. The doctor will tell you when it is safe to do more. If lifting causes pain in your incision, please stop. If pain persists, call the office and speak with the nurse.
Although not commonly seen, any incision is susceptible to infection. If you develop a fever of 101 degrees or above, or have unexpected pain, redness or drainage from the incision, please contact my office.
Call the office to follow up in two weeks.
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Colon and rectal cancer | Diverticulitis | Anorectal | Inflammatory bowel disease
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