After Your Inguinal Hernia Operation – and return to sports
You will feel fine straight after your operation. Even if you had a general anaesthetic the area will have received some local anaesthetic.
The local anaesthetic will begin to wear off after 8 – 10 hours and you may start to feel discomfort. As soon as you start to feel an ache you should use your painkilling tablets.
You are likely to have discomfort or pain for the first few days. It’s difficult to predict how much, and different people react in very different ways.
Painkillers (analgesics). I recommend 3 main types of painkillers:
- Codeine-based e.g. Codydramol tablets- OR a much stronger version – Tramadol. (Codeine type drugs tend to be constipating) *
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) e.g Ibuprofen (Nurofen) or diclofenac (Voltarol). Some NSAIDs should not be used if you have an underlying heart problem, or a stomach ulcer or acid reflux. Please let me know.
- Paracetamol are milder than the other two, but work well, and don’t have the constipating or stomach side effects.
* Lactulose syrup – a gentle effective way of dealing with post-op constipation. Available over the counter at any pharmacy.
During recovery: Days 2 to 14
What can I expect after my operation with you
If you had planned to go home the same day operation 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. I will see you 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.
What can I expect? You may develop swelling and bruising around the wound. The bruising appears after two days or so as a blue/ purple skin staining. It can be quite dramatic but will settle within 2 weeks.
What else might occur? Unanticipated problems do occasionally occur. It is difficult to cover all possible eventualities and the following is only a guide. If you have specific concerns not covered here do not hesitate to contact me.
The dressing should stay on for 7 days. It’s shower proof and you can shower carefully but do not soak it. On the 7th day, peel the dressing off and remove the white strips underneath. No more dressing is needed.
Returning to normal: Day 14+
After you remove the dressing you may feel that the wound is firm to touch and you will feel and see a pronounced swelling. This will subside over a period of 10-14 days leaving a firm ridge running beneath the line of the wound which will disappear within three months.
The most improvement in your discomfort will take place between 10-21 days. Individuals vary so much in their recovery and expectations that it is difficult to give firm guidelines regarding returning to work, sport or sexual activities. You should be guided by your own body. Our staff or your surgeon will be available if you think something is out of the ordinary.
How much can I do? You should be able to carry out many physical activities after 14 days. If it hurts don’t do it. If it doesn’t hurt it is almost certainly ok – you will not damage the repair. If unsure please contact me.
What about driving? You can try driving in 4-6 days, but check that you can put your feet on the pedals quickly for an emergency stop. If you can do that without pain then you are safe to drive.