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Inguinal Hernia Repair: Your Complete Guide to an Optimal Recovery

Hernias happen when an organ or tissues protrude through a muscle wall, like your abdominal or diaphragm. Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia, forming in your lower belly or groin area (above or below a tough, fibrous band called the inguinal ligament).

These hernias are much more common among men than among women. Statistics show about a quarter of all men will have an inguinal hernia during their lifetimes compared with about 2% of women.

Hernias cannot heal on their own, and without treatment, even asymptomatic hernias can cause serious and even life-threatening complications. Fortunately, hernias can be surgically repaired — about 800,000 hernia repair surgeries are performed annually in the United States.

If hernia repair is in your future, it’s normal to be a little nervous, especially if you don’t know what to expect after your hernia surgery. In this post, our team offers a brief overview of the recovery process to help patients at Desert West Surgery feel confident and relaxed about their care.

Before your surgery

Review all your pre-surgery instructions, including when to begin fasting or stop medications. Arrange with a friend or family member to drive you home from your surgery.

After surgery, you’ll be sore, and you’ll need to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity. If possible, arrange to have someone on hand to run errands or do simple chores. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks and meals, focusing on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to keep your bowels regular and avoid constipation.

Types of surgery

Our team offers both open surgery and minimally invasive surgery. Open surgery uses one larger incision to access and repair the hernia, while minimally invasive surgery uses two to three tiny incisions and a special instrument called a laparoscope. 

The type of surgery you have can affect your recovery: Minimally invasive surgery is typically associated with faster recovery and less discomfort during the initial stages of healing. Our team will determine which surgical approach is better for you based on your symptoms and other factors.

Pain management and incision care

After surgery, you’ll be sore around the incision area. Our team prescribes medication to help you stay comfortable. Use your medication as prescribed, and call the office if you have any concerns. 

We’ll also tell you how to care for your incisions. Initially, you’ll have to keep the area dry to prevent infection. We’ll teach you how to keep the incision site clean and what signs to look for that could indicate an infection.

Activity restrictions

You’ll need to avoid certain activities while you recover, including strenuous physical activity like heavy lifting or working out. You won’t be able to drive for the initial healing period, either. These restrictions prevent you from putting too much strain on the muscles surrounding the surgical site.

As you recover, your doctor will let you know when you can start ramping up your activity level. In the meantime, regular walking is perfectly fine. It’s a great way to improve circulation and aid in healing.

Follow-up visits and returning to your routine

You’ll have regular follow-up visits during your recovery so we can assess your progress. It’s important not to skip any of these appointments; if you miss a visit, call immediately to reschedule.

During each visit, we’ll also assess the incision site and guide to help you return to your routine as quickly as possible. Complete healing typically takes a few months, but you’ll be able to get back to most activities within a few weeks.

If you think you may have a hernia or if an asymptomatic hernia is causing symptoms or getting bigger, don’t risk delaying treatment. To learn how hernia repair can help, call Desert West Surgery and schedule a visit at the Las Vegas location nearest you.

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