After Hernia Surgery

Man and woman walking on sidewalk.

You can usually go home the same day as surgery. If you had surgery to repair ventral or incisional hernia, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. To speed healing, take an active role in your recovery. The tips below can help.

Reducing swelling

Early on, it’s common for the area around your incision to be swollen, bruised, and sore. To reduce swelling, put an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a thin towel. Place the towel on the swollen area 3 to 5 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Managing pain

Take any prescribed pain medicines as directed. Be aware that some pain medicines can cause constipation. So your healthcare provider may also suggest a laxative or stool softener.

Returning to normal

You can return to your normal routine as soon as you feel able. Just take it easy and follow these guidelines:

  • Take short walks to improve circulation.

  • Avoid heavy lifting for at least a week.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can drive and return to work.

  • You can have sex again when you feel ready.

Follow-up care

Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider. These ensure you’re healing well. During visits, your stitches, staples, or bandage may be removed.

When to call your healthcare provider 

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • A large amount of swelling or bruising (some testicular swelling and bruising is normal)

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Pain, redness, bleeding, or fluid from the incision that gets worse

  • Trouble urinating

  • Constipation

  • Vomiting