Table of Contents
- Rest Is Essential
- Shower or Bath?
- Getting Around after Surgery
- Let Someone Else Do the Heavy Lifting
- Surgery Makes a Person Hungry
- Take a Fiber Supplement
- Minimizing Post Hernia Repair Pain
- When it Hurts to Cough
- Good Incision Care and Healing
- No Skipping Follow-Up Appointments
- Ready to Try Our Hernia Surgery Recovery Tips?
While gallbladder removal, tonsillectomy, and lower back surgery are all common surgical procedures, so is hernia repair. Surgeons perform one million-plus hernia surgeries each year. It’s usually an outpatient procedure followed by a relatively quick recovery.
If someone you care about needs hernia repair and feels anxious about recovery, you can help.
We’ve put together hernia surgery recovery tips designed to help make recovery quicker and less painful. Take a minute and read today’s post, and then share it with your loved one.
Rest Is Essential
Most people underestimate how tired they’ll feel in the first few days after surgery. Fatigue can last up to seven days, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
If the doctor hasn’t explained the after-effects of anesthesia and the procedure itself, let them know it’s normal to feel tired. Furthermore, after surgery, it’s essential to get enough rest. Encourage your patient to relax, put their feet up, and take naps.
That said, if exhaustion lasts much past the first seven days post-surgery, suggest a call to the doctor.
Shower or Bath?
A relaxing soak in the tub may sound wonderful after the stress of surgery, but post-surgery instructions don’t include baths, swimming, or getting in the hot tub. Doctors restrict any kind of soaking in water directly after surgery.
They’re concerned about preventing infection, weakening of the incision, and premature falling off of adhesives used to hold the incision closed.
Most surgeons allow a shower or sponge bath 24-48 hours after hernia surgery. It’s fine to get the incision wet, but it’s not okay to scrub the area or rub it dry after showering. Gently patting the incision area dry is sufficient.
Getting Around after Surgery
Although walking will feel uncomfortable at first, walking every day helps speed up recovery. If you’re caring for an older adult, they may need help getting up and moving. Read on here and learn more about helping a more senior person get up and moving.
Walks increase blood flow, which hastens healing. Walking also helps prevent constipation. Even though walks are an excellent recovery tool, it’s best to put off other types of exercise until the doctor says it’s okay.
While walks are a good thing, driving is not!
Most doctors don’t want patients driving after surgery until they’re pain-free and no longer taking prescription pain medication. You can help out by offering to pick up groceries or provide rides to medical appointments.
Let Someone Else Do the Heavy Lifting
If there’s one thing a person should avoid after hernia repair surgery, it’s heavy lifting. If it makes them strain, it’s too much.
You might be surprised to know the post-surgery lifting restrictions include gallon milk or juice containers and heavy grocery bags. Even pet food bags are a no-no.
Don’t let the person you’re caring for lift anything heavier than 15 lbs. Depending on the type of hernia repair, and other factors like age and health, the doctor may recommend even less weight.
Surgery Makes a Person Hungry
Since there’s no eating for several hours before surgery, a person wakes up after the procedure with hunger pains. Or do they?
In some cases, anesthesia and pain medication can upset the stomach. You may need to encourage a return to regular meals. Until digestive issues pass, bland foods like toast, yogurt, rice, and broiled chicken make the best food choices.
Other than appeasing the upset stomach, most people can resume their regular diet the same day they have surgery.
Take a Fiber Supplement
One unpleasant after-effect of hernia surgery is constipation. A daily fiber supplement usually takes care of constipation. If it doesn’t, encourage your charge to talk to the doctor about whether it’s time to add a mild laxative.
Drinking plenty of fluids is another way to avoid constipation. Why not whip up a fruit smoothie? Smoothies are refreshing, count as fluids, and they’re easy on the digestive system.
Minimizing Post Hernia Repair Pain
Some people don’t like to take medicine, not even an aspirin. Post-surgery, pain medication can be a blessing.
Managing pain isn’t only about comfort. Pain can prolong recovery time, so it’s helpful to take some form of pain medication. Even if it’s not a prescription pain med, encourage your loved one to take whatever medicines the doctor prescribes.
When it Hurts to Cough
Coughing and hernia surgery don’t go well together. Invariably, a person will need to cough despite the pain it causes.
Holding a pillow over the incision during a coughing spell can help reduce pain. The pillow supports the belly, which takes some of the pressure off the incision.
In some cases, doctors prescribe breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia. Deep breathing may cause incision pain. Try the pillow trick!
Good Incision Care and Healing
Some people are curious about the incision and will remove their dressing and touch the area. Others avoid their incision to the point where they don’t keep it clean.
If you’re caring for someone who feels squeamish about cleaning the incision, you can help. It’s crucial to clean the incision every day with warm, soapy water, followed by patting the area dry.
Sometime an incision may drain or bleed. Just cover it with a gauze bandage and make sure it’s changed every day. A clean incision promotes faster healing!
No Skipping Follow-Up Appointments
Each surgeon has their own protocol for post-surgery follow-up. Some surgeons see patients at two weeks and six weeks after the hernia repair. Regardless of the frequency, follow-up appointments help gauge the success of the surgery and the recovery.
One of the best things you can do to help your loved one recover well is to make sure they go to all their appointments.
Ready to Try Our Hernia Surgery Recovery Tips?
Whether you’re helping a loved one get through a hernia repair procedure, or you’re the patient, having a recovery plan in place should make the post-surgery experience a little easier. Using these hernia surgery recovery tips will also help with the healing process.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, we think you’ll also like the other articles in our archives. Why not spend some more time reading?