E: zoe@berkshireherniacentre.co.uk

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What to expect after your hernia operation?

A hernia is when an organ or tissue goes through a weakened spot in a muscle or the connective tissue called the fascia. Hernias can take place within the groin muscles and stomach, and are usually caused by the muscle’s weakness and bodily pressure which pushes the organ or tissue through the opening. The muscle weakness could be congenial, but mostly happen later in life.

Pressure that can cause a hernia includes lifting heavy objects, constipation, pregnancy, chronic coughing, and complications resulting from obesity and poor dieting. Hernias are noticeably painful, cause nausea, and are usually only detected when the affected area causes a bulge that turns purple. Waiting for treatment can worsen the condition and can cause the hernia to be inflamed, infected, or strangulated. Hernias require immediate surgery to fix.

Before surgery, don’t eat or drink anything after midnight. The hernia operation is simple, called a laparoscopy. It is a minimally invasive procedure in which general anaesthesia is applied, small incisions are made around the abdomen, and gas is applied to make the abdomen bigger for doctors to see the organs. With a tiny camera leading the way, surgeons use tiny instruments to move carefully move the invading organs back into the abdomen and stitch up the opening. Some surgeries may require open surgery, exposing the muscle to push the tissue/organ back in the abdominal cavity before stitching up the affected area. Synthetic patches are widely used for hernia surgery in both forms.

Scar tissue may not be seen following surgery, which is good; if there is any, the scar line along the groin will be 8–10 cm long. Once it is fixed, patients will stay for no more than 24 hours before leaving for him and recovery time begins for a few weeks before someone can go back to regular activity in their work.

After Your Hernia Surgery

The first few days after hernia surgery, you will still have pain in the area, as well as symptoms of nausea, before ultimately feeling much better. There may be some pulling along where the hernia was fixed when moving, as well as some bruising, but this is normal, so don’t worry. Get a full night’s sleep and take a nap when tired.

To get active again, walk every day in small quantities. Through these small distances in walking, blood flow rises and helps counter any possible complications including pneumonia. Don’t do long distances, which can hurt the recovery process. Also, don’t do strenuous exercise including biking, jogging, or weightlifting until you are medically cleared.

After surgery, you can eat normally. Start with regular low-fat foods and nothing spicy including rice, toast, and yogurt to test if your stomach is okay. Drink plenty of water as you usually should. A common thing noticed is the lack of bowel movement after surgery and you should not be constipated. Take a fiber pill every day to keep bowel movement working.

Most people can return to work within 2 weeks after surgery, unless their job requires heavy lifting. Showering can also take place within 48 hours after surgery; don’t sit in a bath for at least two weeks so the skin doesn’t weaken up. After showering, just dry the incision carefully. Avoid carrying anything heavy in the house such as groceries, packed suitcases, boxes, backpacks, or even a child. Target no more than ten pounds of lifting. Talk to your doctor to get clearance to drive, which usually should be a week after surgery.

When it comes to any medications you may be taking, let the doctor advise when to take them again, especially if using blood thinners. Follow the doctor’s advice very carefully in when they should be used. Use pain medication as prescribed; any over-the-counter painkillers should be used by doctor’s advice. The same goes for antibiotics – keep taking them throughout, but if any medicine is causing any side effects, mak sure to take them after meals or seek a different pain medication.

When it comes to caring for the incision, any tape the doctor has left on the incision should be left on for at least a week before removing carefully. If there are staples, they will have to be removed by the doctor a week or two after surgery. Wash the affected area with warm water and pat dry before covering the area with a gauze bandage.

When There’s an Emergency

Sometimes, there may be a serious matter that arises that requires quick attention.

Side effects can include:

  • an upset stomach or lack of intake of any fluids
  • pain and swelling along the leg which could mean a possible blood clot
  • infection of the area by pain and swelling
  • hardened testicles
  • red streaks from the incision area
  • any pus being draining out
  • inability to pass any bowel movement
  • no relief of pain after use of medication
  • loose stitching from the incision

Contact your doctor for any of these symptoms, or if there is a loss of breath, call an ambulance.

Hernias are common, affecting men, women, and children. Over 800,000 hernia surgeries in the U.S. are for inguinal hernias (inner groin) while 100,000 more are for other types, including the umbilical (belly button) region, ventral (abdominal wall) region), femoral (upper thigh) region, and hiatal (stomach) region.

The chance of a returning hernia after surgery is almost 1 out of 100 surgeries done. There are ways to prevent hernias, such as losing weight and reducing the amount strenuous work, but sometimes, they cannot be avoided. But in 3-6 weeks, you should be fully recovered.

Posted in: News on November 8, 2019.

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The Berkshire Hernia Centre offers expert, professional and friendly advice to enable you to understand your hernia and what you should do about it.