Summer isn’t over yet, and many people still have vacation on their mind. It may be hard to think about vacation plans, however, if you’re suffering from the pain of a hernia or worried about the downtime needed after surgery.
You might be surprised to learn that patients who have hernia repair surgery with one of the skilled surgeons at the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) generally experience short recovery times – typically one to two weeks. That means you can get back to your plans sooner, and with less pain.
How long does it take to recover from hernia surgery?
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.
Each patient’s recovery from hernia surgery is different, but most people are able to return to work and other normal activities within three days to two weeks after surgery.
Recovery time after hernia surgery varies based on:
- Type of hernia. While there are several types of hernias, inguinal hernias are the most common and generally have fewer complications.
- Type of surgery. Generally, people who have laparoscopic or robotic hernia surgery recover quicker than patients who have open surgery. In fact, most patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery are home the day of their 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.
- Your hernia surgeon’s experience. Research shows that having hernia surgery with an experienced hernia surgeon lowers your risk of complications and recurrence.
What should I expect after surgery?
After hernia repair surgery, you should have a responsible adult stay with you for 24 hours to monitor you for any 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. Most people can take a shower within 48 hours, but bathing and swimming are typically not recommended for two weeks after surgery.
Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet to help reduce the risk of constipation, which may cause pain around the affected area.
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 experience pain longer, most people feel better after a week or two. In fact, most of the Hernia Center of NGMC’s patients are off pain medications within a few days after surgery.
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 or until the anesthesia has completely worn off.
You can return to light activities such as housework, shopping and gentle exercise such as walking – which can help you heal faster – after a couple of days. You should avoid lifting anything heavy or performing strenuous activities for at least four weeks.
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 weeks after surgery, while patients who have open surgery may need more time to recover before driving again.
How does a surgeon’s experience affect my recovery?
Selecting an experienced hernia surgeon with a high level of technical skill will significantly reduce the risk of recurrence or other complications. At the Hernia Center of NGMC, our hernia repair surgeons are highly skilled in open, laparoscopic and robotic hernia repair and each perform between 15 to 30 hernia surgeries a month. This experience translates to below average complication rates, with less than one percent of patients returning to the operating room, needing readmission to the hospital or developing a recurring hernia.
Our surgeons also successfully treat patients who had initial hernia repair elsewhere but need revision surgery because their hernia has returned.
Schedule your appointment today.
As Georgia’s first accredited Hernia Surgery Center of Excellence, NGMC offers you access to hernia specialists who offer the most advanced robotic and minimally invasive surgical techniques for hernia repair.
Contact us for an appointment today by calling 770-219-4040.