Hernia Surgery Recovery Time and What to Expect

After undergoing surgery to repair a ventral hernia or inguinal hernia, you are going to need to give your body time to heal. Any surgery causes some form of tissue damage causing your body to go into “repair mode” which increases your metabolic rate and pulls from your nutrient reserves.

There is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes as your body expends excess energy to invoke all the normal immune responses. This leaves most people significantly fatigued and takes them a while to feel like themselves again.

Knowing what to expect during inguinal hernia surgery recovery or ventral hernia surgery recovery can help you to be better prepared and make your healing process go more smoothly.


How Long Is The Recovery Time After Hernia Surgery?

The typical inguinal hernia recovery time, as well as ventral hernia repair recovery time, will depend on the type of damage that is being repaired and the technique used to correct it. Other factors that influence a patient’s recovery time from hernia surgery include:

  • The type and location of the hernia being repaired – Hernias that require large amounts of repair will take longer to heal.
  • Patient’s age – Older patients tend to heal more slowly than younger patients.
  • Patient’s overall health – Patients who are in good health heal faster than those with co-existing health conditions.
  • The knowledge and hernia repair experience of the surgeon – A surgeon who is an expert in hernia repair mitigates the risks of complications.

How Common Are Ventral Hernia Repair Complications?

There are risks involved with any type of surgical procedure and complications can arise for many reasons. Hernia surgery as a rule is considered fairly low risk however, some hernias can be quite large and difficult to repair.

Ventral hernias do not go away on their own and can get worse becoming quite large if not treated in a timely manner. The ventral hernia category rates a bit higher among complication rates (20%) after a hernia repair primarily because it includes the statistics related to incisional hernias.

Incisional hernias come under the ventral hernia category and are a very common complication after undergoing abdominal surgery and occur in about 10–25% of all patients. Patients who are older, obese, smoke, have diabetes, etc, are at an elevated risk of incisional hernia development.

What Can I Expect During My Inguinal Hernia Surgery Recovery?

Every patient will have a different recovery scenario that will be based on the extent and technique of their hernia repair so the guidelines given below are given in general.

  1. On the day of surgery, you will need someone to drive you home and most likely stay with you for about 24 hours. Most patients are very sleepy and it often takes time for your judgment and reflexes to return to normal. Many patients only require Tylenol or Motrin to help alleviate discomfort but if you have been prescribed opioids to alleviate pain after a ventral hernia repair with the mesh you will not be able to drive until you are no longer taking them;
  2. For the first 3 or 4 days, you should only rest and follow the aftercare instructions related to your surgery such as icing down the hernia location every several hours. Do not plan any work or family activities. Staying home and resting helps minimize post-surgical pain and swelling. You may need to enlist help with children or pets for at least these first several days;
  3. For about three weeks after your hernia surgery, you will need to avoid strenuous activity and lifting anything heavier than about 10 pounds. You can perform light activities at home and at work but nothing that puts too much strain on the abdominal muscles. When repairs are made to the mesh it takes about three weeks for the mesh to heal in place to sufficiently support the area;
  4. Usually, after the third week, patients can begin some light cardiovascular activities taking care not to strain or push themselves harder than they are able. From there patients should be able to work their way back up to their normal routines provided their surgeon clears them to do so.
No Mesh Hernia Repair - IBI HEalthcare Institute

Dr. Chris discusses the risks of mesh use and the benefits of no mesh hernia repair for inguinal and ventral hernias.

Can Inguinal Hernia Exercises Help Prevent Their Occurrence?

The short answer is yes. Hernias form because of weakness in the abdominal muscles so exercises that strengthen the muscles in the abdomen and core can help avoid many types of hernias and some exercises can help patients as they recover after a surgical hernia repair. Your surgeon can provide you with some exercises that are safe for you and your circumstances.

Regardless of the type of hernia surgery performed, allowing yourself the appropriate amount of recovery time is very important. Trying to do too much too soon may result in complications that require an additional procedure.

If you are interested in learning more about recovering from inguinal hernia surgery recovery or what to expect during your ventral hernia repair recovery time, contact IBI Healthcare Institute today! You can give us a call or contact us online and learn everything you need to know about hernia surgery and the associated recovery.

Our team of highly-skilled experts performs hernia surgery in our proprietary state-of-the-art surgery center located in the Atlanta, Georgia area.