Hernia surgeries have a high success rate, but most of this success depends greatly on the steps you take towards recovery. You will be discharged on the same day or the day after depending on the type of surgery performed. The success of hernia surgery greatly depends on the post-op care you take at home. Below are a few pointers on things that you can do before and after surgery to prepare you for the procedure and help in your recovery.
- Smoking: Stop smoking to prevent complications and promote the process of healing after the surgery.
- Medication: Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking and if you are allergic to any substance. You may be advised to stop blood thinning medications and NSAIDs to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery.
- Eating before surgery: Depending on the type of anesthesia – general or local – your doctor will inform you on whether you can have a light meal or should have an empty stomach 8 hours prior to surgery.
- Disinfecting yourself: To minimize infections, wash yourself with an antiseptic soap the night before and the morning of your procedure.
- Driving: You will not be able to drive after the surgery, so it’s advisable to arrange for a responsible friend or family member to drive you home.
- Medications: Take your medication regularly as recommended by your doctor.
- Wound care: Keep your dressings clean and dry, and change them as instructed. Keep an eye out for signs of infection. Visit your GP if you experience increased pain, redness or warmth at the site of your incision.
- Healthy eating: Eat healthy to replenish your body with all the nutrients it requires to heal. Including fiber in your food (fruits and vegetables) will help keep your bowels moving and prevent constipation.
- Smoking: Do not get back to smoking after surgery. Refraining from smoking will improve breathing and blood circulation, which helps in the overall healing process.
- Walking: Mobility soon after surgery speeds up recovery and reduces muscle stiffness. However, it is important to gradually build on your activities; always be aware of your body’s responses of pain and discomfort, which will indicate that you have to slow down.
Complete recovery may take from 2 to 6 weeks. The time for recovery also depends on the type of surgery performed. Open surgery is performed through a large incision across the region of the hernia, and requires a longer hospital stay and takes a longer time for you to get back to your regular work. In contrast, laparoscopic surgery is performed through 2 to 3 small incisions that can heal faster, promising a shorter hospitalization and speedier recovery.
So, make the right choices, follow your doctor’s advice, look out for signs of infection and enjoy a smooth recovery from hernia surgery.