Home Care after Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
There are many types of hernias. You will have a ___________________ hernia repair. A hernia is a bulge where the bowel pushes through a weakened area in the groin, abdomen, or an old incision.
Your hernia will be repaired using a laparoscope. It allows your doctor to repair the hernia through tiny incisions rather than a large one. This approach often results in a faster recovery and less pain than if you had the more traditional open approach.
Preparing for Surgery
Buy stool softeners like docusate (Colace®). Take one in the morning and one at night on the day before surgery. Stool softeners will be prescribed after surgery, too. If you need to take a stronger laxative, it will be prescribed at your "workup" clinic visit before surgery.
You may have some shoulder pain as a result of gas still present in your abdomen from the surgery. You may try lying on your side and bringing your knees up to your chest, or lying on your back and putting a few pillows under your buttocks so that your knees are higher than your chest. Stay like this for 5-15 minutes. The pain may go away. It is normal to have some pain or soreness in the surgical area. Pain medicine will be prescribed for you. Follow the instructions for use given by your pharmacist. Often a pain pill taken at bedtime can help you get a good night’s rest.
Your incisions will be covered with Band-Aids or an adhesive dressing. If steri-strips are in place, leave them on until your first doctor’s visit. They may begin falling off within the week.
You need to keep your incisions dry for the first 24-48 hours. If you’d like to shower during this time, keep them dry by using Glad® Press ‘N Seal (or a product like this) to cover them during your shower. After that, you do not need to cover the incisions in the shower. Remove the dressing and allow the water to run over the incisions and pat dry. Cover with clean Band-Aids or leave open to air.
Do not soak in a tub, swim, or scrub the incisions until well healed – in about 10-14 days. The stitches will be absorbed and do not need to be removed.
Do not use lotions, creams, or ointments on incisions until healed.
Check your incisions for signs of infection:
- Incision is bright red and/or hot
- Pus-like (yellow, green, or thick) drainage
- Fever (by mouth) greater than 100.4° F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
- Excess swelling or bleeding
Do not drive for the first 24 hours, unless you are told you may, or for as long as you are taking narcotic pain pills.
Do not lift greater than 20 pounds for 1-2 weeks, until it is okayed by your doctor.
Press on your old hernia site with your hand if you laugh or cough a lot to give it extra support.
Check with your doctor about when you may return to work. Often patients can work in 3-5 days, unless the job involves heavy physical labor.
Sex may be resumed when you feel ready and comfortable.
If you feel sick to your stomach when you go home, do not eat a full meal. Start out slowly with clear liquids such as tea, broth, or Jell-O. Add solid food to your diet, as your stomach feels better.
Narcotic pain pills and being less active may cause constipation. You may want to use a stool softener such as Colace® to prevent this.
Follow this diet to prevent constipation:
- Drink 6-8 glasses water a day
- Eat 4 servings of fruits and veggies a day
- Eat 4 servings of whole grains a day
When to Call the Doctor:
- If you haven’t had a bowel movement in 3 days, you may need a laxative.
- Fever over 100.4° F for two readings taken four hours apart.
- Excess scrotal swelling (some testicular or scrotal swelling is common).
- Trouble passing urine.
- Increased redness at the incision site or warm to touch.
- If you notice a new bulge at the hernia site.
- Abnormal drainage, like bleeding or pus from the site.
- Increased pain not controlled by pain medicine.
- Some bruising is normal. If you notice rapid/excess bruising, please call.
Surgery Clinic: (608) 263-7502 , Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30 pm.
After hours, holidays and weekends, this will give you the paging operator. Ask for the doctor on call for Dr. _____________. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll free number: 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/26/2010
Copyright © 02/26/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5975
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