Hernia Repair (Adult)
This handout explains what a hernia is and what you can expect after surgery.
There are many types of hernias. A hernia is a bulge where bowel pushes through a weak area in
the groin (inguinal), abdomen (ventral or incisional), or your navel (umbilical). You may have
your hernia fixed using an open approach of by laparoscope.
You will have a(n) ________________________________________hernia repair.
An open hernia repair has one incision and
you have more pain.
A laparoscopic hernia repair has a few
small incisions or “port” sites instead of one
large incision. Because of this, you may
have less pain.
Expect the incision to be pink, swollen and
numb at first. If you are a man who had an
inguinal hernia, your penis may be bruised
and scrotum bruised and swollen. This is
1. Look at your incision daily. If you notice
signs of infection, call your doctor.
ξ Increasing redness or warmth.
ξ Pus-like drainage or blood.
ξ Increased swelling.
ξ Temperature by mouth above 101.5 θ F
for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart.
2. After at least 24 hours, you may shower
and let soap and water run over the
incisions. Do not scrub your incisions.
3. Do not soak in a hot tub, bath, or swim
until it is healed. This may be at least 2
4. If surgical “glue” was used to close your
incisions, it will fall off on its own –
don’t peel it off.
If your hernia was fixed using laparoscope,
you may have some pain in your shoulder,
neck or back. This is caused by the gas used
to inflate your abdomen during surgery. It
will only last for 1 – 2 days. Heating pads
will help relieve this. Please use heat on the
lowest setting, for no more than 15 minutes
at a time.
It’s normal to have pain, swelling, and
numbness of the incision and area around it.
Your doctor will order pain pills for you.
You may use an ice pack on your incision
for 20 minutes, then off for 20 minutes to
decrease pain and swelling. If you don’t
have an ice pack, make one by wrapping a
bag of frozen peas in a towel. Males may
also use a rolled up wash cloth or towel to
elevate a swollen scrotum. Males should
also wear support briefs instead of boxer
Your doctor will give you instructions after
surgery about how much weight you can lift
and when you can return to work. It will
depend on how your hernia was fixed.
1. Factors that will affect this are:
ξ If mesh was used.
ξ Open hernia.
ξ Laparoscopic hernia.
2. Your doctor will talk with you about
when you can get back to your normal
routine. You will have a follow-up visit
in 7 – 14 days.
3. Standing or laying down puts less strain
on your wound than sitting upright. You
may feel more comfort sitting in a
4. Check with your doctor before going
back to work.
5. Sexual activity may be resumed when
you feel ready, which may not be for 2 to
6. Do not drive for 1 week after surgery.
Do not drive if you are taking narcotic
pain pills or if you have trouble sitting for
ξ Watch for any new bulge at your
ξ Do not strain during a bowel
.movement or hold your breath.
ξ While coughing, sneezing, laughing or
during a bowel movement firmly press
on your wound with your hand for
Narcotic pain pills will cause constipation.
To prevent this, eat foods with enough fiber
and drink plenty of water. Eat a balanced
diet each day to include:
ξ 8-10 (8 oz) glasses of fluids a day
(water, juice, tea, etc.).
ξ At least 4 servings of fruits or
ξ At lease 2-4 servings of whole grain
bread or cereal.
You may want to increase fiber in your diet
slowly to avoid bloating and gas. You may
need to use a stool softener and/or a bulk
fiber laxative to prevent problems. Buy
these over the counter at your drugstore.
Follow package directions.
When to Call the Doctor
ξ If you have not had a bowel movement
ξ 3 days after surgery. You may need a
ξ Temperature by mouth over 101.5 θF for
two readings, four hours apart.
ξ Excess scrotal swelling or pain. Some
testicular and scrotal swelling is common.
ξ Trouble passing urine.
ξ Increased redness or warmth of wound.
ξ Pus-like drainage or blood from wound.
ξ Pain not controlled by pain pills.
ξ Rapid or excess bruising. Some bruising
Surgery Clinic: (608) 263-7502,
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Toll Free: 1-800-323-7502
This is a 24 hour/day number. After
hours, weekends, or holidays you will
reach a paging operator.
Ask for the doctor on call for
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#7925.