Approximately 350,000 hernia surgeries are performed every year in the United States. With millions of case histories to draw upon, medical researchers have been able to develop a clear picture of what to expect after hernia surgery. Based on what they’ve learned, you can follow a few simple hernia surgery recovery tips to reduce your healing time and risk of complications simultaneously.
Hernia Surgery Recovery Tips
The first thing to get out of the way is transportation. You’ll want someone ready to drive you home after hernia surgery. The anesthesia and narcotics used in hernia surgery will negatively affect response time, which makes anyone a danger behind the wheel. Even if you feel lucid, sudden breaking can be painful. Most people feel comfortable driving after about 2 weeks of recovery.
Healthy nutrition is an important part of recovery after hernia surgery. Carefully watch what you eat, especially during your first few weeks of recovery. Strenuous bowel movements have the potential to be agonizing. Recovering patients should consider taking a stool softener before meals for several days. Beyond that, a diet filled with fiber and fluids will keep the bowels running smoothly.
During the first few days of recovery, you’ll need to keep all bandages clean, changing them as instructed. Having surgery wounds mean you’re temporarily at an increased risk of infection. It’s important to keep an eye out for telltale signs, like redness, increased pain, and warmth around the incision. Watch for fever and profuse sweating as well.
Recovery Isn’t a Race
Recovery from hernia surgery is all about supporting the natural healing process. Staying well-rested and stress-free can speed along the healing process as quickly as anything. To make sure you don’t get in the way, do your best to avoid sneezing and coughing for a few days. Swelling after hernia surgery is common, so you may want to set aside clothing with expandable waistbands as well.
Expect to spend at least two or three days resting in bed. When you’re feeling up to it, you can resume light physical activity. Getting back on your feet can help speed-up the natural healing process because it boosts your blood circulation. But don’t push yourself, and try to stay aware of discomfort and pain as you move. Those are signs the body is telling you to slow down.
Post hernia surgery, be sure not to lift anything heavy. Most of your exercises and activities during this time must be based on flexibility rather than strength. You may be able to lift light items after 2 or 3 days, but try to engage your back and knees whenever possible.
How Long to Recover from Hernia Surgery?
Recovery time is affected by the type of hernia surgery, the location of the incision, and the health of the patient. Small incisions from a laparoscopic surgery heal much faster than open surgery. Many people will be up-and-about within 3 days of surgery and back to full physical activity within 3 weeks.
If you’re not sure when you should be increasing physical activity, your doctor is always the right person to ask. With the help of these tips and your doctor’s guidance, you can rest easy knowing you’re on track to be among the millions of people who smoothly recover from hernia surgery.