Recovery After your hernia Surgery
Recovery following a hernia operation varies between patients depending for instance on the size of the hernia, how long it was there for, your age etc. Nevertheless there are many common features – patients are remarkably similar – and will not be affected whether you stayed in hospital one night or went home the same day.
Most patients will be comfortable for the first evening after surgery because I use a long acting local anaesthetic to control post-operative pain, even if the operation was under general anaesthetic. However as the local anaesthetic wears off you will find the area becomes more uncomfortable and it is important that you use the painkilling tablets or suppositories which will have been given to you at the time of your operation.
Over the next few days you may also see some swelling and bruising around and below the operation site. This can be sometimes quite colourful and alarming, but disappears quickly.
You should not drive a car (may invalidate your insurance) for at least three days. You can drive when you feel confident that you can safely perform an “emergency stop”.
You will have a detailed instruction and explanation sheet and I or one of my colleagues will always be available on the end of a phone.
What can I expect after my operation with you
If your operation is at the day surgery centre then Immediately after your operation you will be able to walk out of the operating room into the recovery area, where you will spend about an hour in an armchair. You will be pain free at this stage.
You will be given something to eat or drink and will be monitored and checked by the recovery area staff.
When you are ready to leave you will be given a detailed written instruction sheet with emergency contact details, and a supply of pain killers, to use if necessary when the local anaesthetic wears off. Your surgeon will also see you just before you leave.
You will have a plastic waterproof dressing which you can peel off in a week, and there are no stitches to remove.
The next day…
You are likely to have some pain the next day, although people differ widely in what they feel, and some of my patients say they took hardly any or even no pain killers after their op. It is difficult to predict and does not seem to relate to the size of the hernia or the ‘difficulty’ of the operation.
What is the recovery time?
Your return to normal activity depends upon a number of factors, some of which depend on what you consider ‘normal activity’.
In my experience many patients are able to return to ‘office’ routines in about five days. Physical occupations, including sport, will take a little longer, in the region of two weeks.
You will be given a detailed instruction sheet telling you about what you can and cannot do afterwards, and I am always available for telephone and email queries.