Is Hernia Surgery Painful?

Posted: Friday, February 26, 2021

While you may experience pain before and after hernia surgery, you will likely be asleep during surgery and will not feel any pain. In most open, laparoscopic and robotic hernia repairs, your hernia surgery will use general anesthesia during the procedure. General anesthesia is very safe due to precise administration. Your anesthesiologist will be present during the surgery and will monitor you the entire time. 

Older couple walking down a city street

Pain or discomfort in the groin or abdomen is a common symptom of hernias, especially when you are bending over, coughing or lifting heavy weights. 

After Surgery

After hernia repair surgery, you may experience mild to moderate pain for a few days. Our surgical team recommends the following regimen to mitigate the risk of developing severe pain: 

  • Patient takes Tylenol 1000mg the night before surgery before going to bed. 
  • After surgery, the patient takes Tylenol 1000mg every 6 hours for the first 3 days. If the pain is not relieved by Tylenol and not contraindicated by ulcer disease or kidney disease, he or she can take ibuprofen 600 mg every 6 hours for pain. 
  • Most patients do not need narcotic pain medication for inguinal hernias. Occasionally they will need narcotic pain medication for the first 2-3 days for ventral / incisional hernia repairs. 
  • Patient is instructed to take the narcotic pain medication ONLY if pain is unrelieved by Tylenol and Advil. 

Most people feel better a couple days after surgery and significantly better within seven days. You may have bruising or feel pulling or mild twinges in the affected area when you move for a few weeks after surgery.  

Recovery Guidelines

To ensure a safe and quick recovery, surgeons with the Hernia Center of NGMC recommend you follow these guidelines: 

  • Rest. Getting plenty of sleep will help you recover quicker. 
  • Walk every day. Gradually increase the amount you walk each day. Walking can help increase blood flow to help you heal quicker. 
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as running or biking, until your doctor gives you approval to resume these activities.  
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects such as a small child, grocery bags, etc. 
  • Avoid sexual intercourse until your doctor gives you approval. 
  • Take medications exactly as prescribed.  
  • Schedule and maintain your follow-up appointment one to two weeks after surgery.  

Most of our patients at the Hernia Center of NGMC can return to a light work schedule (no lifting over 15 pounds) one week after surgery and full work schedule after two weeks (with no restrictions). 

Signs to Watch For:

If you lose consciousness or have trouble breathing during recovery, seek emergency care. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: 

  • Signs of infection such as pain, swelling red streaks or draining from the incision. 
  • Signs of a blood clot such as pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh or groin, or if you have redness or swelling in your leg or groin. 
  • You are unable to have a bowel movement
  • Your pain is not improving after taking pain medication.  

Next Steps

If you think you have a hernia, schedule your appointment by calling 770-415-0476 or requesting an appointment.