Hernia Repair for patients of Drs Faucher, Kudsk, ORourke, Orr
What is a hernia? A hernia is a bulge where bowel or fat pushes through a hole in the groin (inguinal). It may also occur in the ring around the navel (umbilical). Sometimes it is seen at the site of an old incision (ventral).
How is a hernia fixed? Mesh is often used to repair ventral and groin hernias. Navel hernias greater than 2 cm are often fixed with mesh. Hernias less than 2 cm will be sewn shut with lasting stitches (1” = 2.54 cm).
What are the possible problems with a hernia repair?
- Groin and navel hernia repairs with mesh recur 5% of the time. In other words, the surgery is a success 95% of the time.
- A small number of patients may have chronic pain in their hernia site. This pain may or may not respond to treatments to the nerve or more surgery.
- Ventral hernia repair with mesh recur 20% of the time.
What about laparoscopic (lap) repair for a hernia?
- A New England Journal of Medicine article from April 2004 compares open and lap repairs. They found lap repairs to have less pain right after surgery and at 2 weeks after surgery. But, they have a higher rate of coming back. (10% vs. 5% with open repairs.)
- Lap repair is often used for hernias that have come back again and for people with hernias in both groins.
Getting Ready for Surgery
- Bowel prep. You need to buy the stool softener, docusate sodium (Colace®). The day before surgery take one in the morning and one in the evening.
- Quit smoking. This promotes good blood flow for healing and may help reduce “smoker’s cough”. This type of cough can cause a strain on your hernia and can damage the repair. The result may be another hernia. Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line: 1-877-270-STOP (toll free)
It's normal to have pain, swelling and numbness of the wound and area around it. Your doctor will order pain pills for you. You may use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas/corn wrapped in a towel on your wound for 20 minutes, then off for 20 minutes to decrease pain and swelling. You may want to use a rolled up wash cloth/towel to raise your swollen scrotum.
Expect the wound to be pink, swollen and numb. You may also have a bruised penis shaft if you had an inguinal hernia repair. This is normal.
1. Leave the bandage on for 2 days. Then, remove it and look at your wound daily. If you notice signs of infection call your doctor.
- Increasing redness or warmth
- Increase swelling
- Temperature by mouth above 100.4°F for 2 readings, 4 hours apart
- Pus-like drainage or blood
2. Wear a Band-Aid®if your wound is draining, rubbing on your clothes, or is in a skin fold. Change the Band-Aid®at least once each day and if it gets wet. Do not use lotion, powder, or ointment on the wound.
3. Keep the wound dry for 2 days. Sponge bathe or cover it with plastic wrap during a shower. You may shower without the wrap after 2 days. Do not soak in a hot tub, bathtub or swim until it is healed. This may be at least 2 weeks.
A diet with enough fiber and water may prevent constipation. Eat a balanced diet each day to include: 8-10 (8 oz.) glasses of fluids (water, juice, tea, etc.), at least 4 servings of fruits or vegetables and at least 2-4 servings of whole grain bread or cereal. You may want to increase fiber in your diet slowly to avoid bloating and gas. You may need to use a stool softener and/or a bulk fiber laxative to prevent problems. Buy these over the counter. Follow package directions.
Nothing strenuous until okayed by your doctor. Be sure you know your special activity limits. This is written in your discharge sheets. Your doctor will tell you when you can go back to work. You will have a follow-up visit about 2 weeks after surgery.
When to Call the Doctor
- If you have not had a bowel movement 2-3 days after surgery, you may need a laxative.
- Temperature by mouth over 100.4°F for two readings, four hours apart.
- Excess scrotal swelling or pain (some testicular and scrotal swelling is common.).
- Trouble passing urine.
- Increased redness or warmth of wound.
- Pus-like drainage or blood from wound.
- Pain not controlled by pain pills.
- Rapid or excess bruising (some bruising is normal).
- New bulge at hernia repair site or wound.
Surgery Clinic: 608-263-7502 this is a 24 hour number.
After hours, weekends, or holidays this number connects with the message center.
Ask for the doctor on call for Dr. Kudsk, Dr. Faucher, or Dr. Orr.
Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll Free: 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: 08/06/2012
Copyright © 08/06/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6613
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