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Before, During & After Surgery

Preparing for the Operation

Unless the hernia is strangulated (the blood supply is cut off and the tissues swell), hernia repair typically is an elective operation. Only you can decide whether you ought to proceed with the repair. But, the hernia is not going to heal by itself, pain may increase in the area of the hernia, and it will usually increase in size over time.

Prior to admission to the hospital, you may be given standard tests to measure your complete blood count and electrolyte levels, as well as a urinalysis. Your surgeon may require additional studies depending on your condition and age. Prior to the operation, you will dress in a surgical cap and gown and have a needle placed in the back of your hand or in your forearm for connection to an intravenous line in the operating room. In addition, the area where your incision will be made will be shaved. The procedure generally takes less than two hours. You may be given a local, spinal, or general anesthetic depending on your surgeon’s preference, your age, your state of health, and the procedure’s degree of difficulty.

Outpatient Surgery

Unless the patient is not in overall good health, usually, hernia repair can be done on an outpatient basis. On the day of your operation, you should wear loose-fitting, simple clothing to the hospital, such as a sweat suit and slip-on shoes. That way, upon discharge, you will be able to get dressed easily without too much strain or discomfort. Generally, you should not eat on the morning of your operation. You should have a friend or relative drive you home after the operation, and ideally, someone should stay with you the first night, particularly if your bedroom is on the second floor of your house because stairs will be difficult for you to climb.

Complications are Few

As with any operation, infection and bleeding can occur. Most of the time, however, these problems are easily handled, without the need for a hospital stay. A slight chance also exists that the intestine or bladder can be injured during the operation. The formation of scar tissue is another possibility.


As with any operation, the amount of pain that people experience varies from patient to patient. A patient's discomfort also depends on the location and type of hernia that was repaired, as well as the technique that was used to perform the repair. Generally, you will have some difficulty walking the first few hours after the operation, and climbing stairs the first couple of days also will be difficult. You must use extra care during bathing so as not to wet the incision site. Sexual activity is usually too uncomfortable to enjoy the first week or two. Your surgeon will advise you regarding heavy lifting, jogging, or doing strenuous exercise depending on the type and degree of difficulty it took to do the repair. You should be able to drive your car within a week. Depending upon your occupation, you can expect a recovery period lasting from one to six weeks.

Proper recovery is as important as the hernia repair procedure itself. During the recovery phase, the repair takes hold. A smooth recovery will increase the likelihood that your hernia will not reoccur. While we work with you to make every attempt to minimize any recurrence, the “perfect” repair does not exist. However, the recurrence rate over many years is small, and is estimated to be about 1-3 percent.

recovery room

"Your skill, caring, friendliness and generosity were deeply appreciated."
-- Patient