How long does it take to recover from hernia surgery?

Published: Thursday, October 22, 2020

After hernia repair surgery, it is common to experience mild to moderate pain and to feel a little run down. It’s also normal to feel pulling or twinges in the affected area as you heal. 

Most people, however, feel better within a few days and much better within a week of surgery.  

Recovery time after hernia surgery varies based on factors such as: 

  • Type of hernia you have.
    Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia and generally have fewer complications. 
  • Type of surgery you had.
    Generally, people who have laparoscopic or robotic hernia surgery recover quicker than patients who have open surgery. 
  • Your age.
    Younger patients typically heal faster than older ones.  
  • Your overall health. 
    Relatively healthy patients tend to heal quicker than ones with co-existing conditions. 
  • The experience level of your hernia surgeon. 
    Research shows that having hernia surgery with an experienced hernia surgeon lowers your risk of adverse events. 

When can I go home from the hospital after hernia surgery? 

If you had laparoscopic or robotic hernia surgery, you will likely go home on the procedure day. You will need someone to drive you home because of the effects of the anesthesia. 

What can I do for self-care in the days following hernia surgery? 

  • After surgery, you should have a responsible adult stay with you for 24 hours to monitor you for possible complications. Make sure to get plenty of rest, as adequate sleep will help you heal quicker. 
  • If you need to move, cough, sneeze or stand, apply gentle pressure to the affected area before and during the movement. 
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for your wound and bathing. Most people can take a shower within 48 hours after surgery. Bathing is not recommended for two weeks after surgery. 
  • Reduce the risk of constipation by drinking lots of fluids and eating a healthy diet. Constipation may cause pain around the affected area. 
  • If you are taking pain medications, take them exactly as prescribed. If you no longer need them, dispose of them as instructed. 

How long will the pain last after surgery? 

You will likely feel sore and uncomfortable after hernia surgery while the incision site heals. While some people experience pain a month or more after hernia surgery, most people feel better a couple of weeks. At the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, most of our patients are off pain medications within a few days after surgery. 

When can I return to work after hernia surgery? 

Most people can return to work within three days to two weeks after surgery. People who perform manual labor may need more time off.   

How quickly can I get back to my normal activities after hernia surgery? 

  • You will be asked to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, operating heavy machinery or caring for young children for 48 hours after surgery until the anesthesia has completely worn off. 
  • You can return to light activities such as housework and shopping after a couple of days. 
  • Generally, patients can start driving again when they can make an emergency stop without any pain or discomfort. For patients who have laparoscopic or robotic surgery, this will be anywhere from a couple of days to two after surgery, while patients who have open surgery may need more time to recover before driving again. 
  • Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help you heal faster. 
  •  Avoid lifting anything heavy or performing strenuous activities for at least four weeks. Sexual intercourse is permitted when you feel ready—generally, around two to three weeks post-surgery. 

When should I call my doctor? 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined below, call your doctor right away. 

  • Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or greater 
  • Bleeding 
  • Increased swelling or pain in your abdomen 
  • Severe pain that cannot be relieved with painkillers 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Chills 
  • Chronic cough or shortness of breath
  • Trouble urinating
  • Swelling and increasing redness around the incision sites. 

Choose the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center for your hernia repair

The Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is recognized by Surgical Review Corporation as a Center of Excellence for its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for patients who undergo hernia surgery.  

As a designated Center of Excellence for Hernia Surgery, NGMC’s surgical outcomes are higher than the national average, while our complication rates remain much lower. Our Experienced surgeons perform hundreds of minimally invasive hernia surgeries each year. 

At the Hernia Center of NGMC, our surgeons have demonstrated low complication rates, with less than once percent returning to the operating room, less than one percent being readmitted to the hospital, and less than one percent developing a recurring hernia.  

Get started today

Learn more about the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center or call 770-219-4040 to speak to our care team about questions or to schedule an appointment.