What to expect after surgery

Inevitably, there will be some discomfort from the wounds but, depending on the type of operation, simple painkillers should be sufficient. The majority of hernias are now repaired as day-cases, not requiring overnight stay.

What are the potential complications?

Hernia surgery is very safe. In some instances, it is not possible to complete a keyhole operation and conversion to an open approach is required. Very occasionally, excessive bruising or swelling occurs which may necessitate a return trip to the operating theatre. A minority of patients react to the mesh by producing fluid around it. This appears as a painless swelling which self-resolves after a number of weeks. Infection of the mesh is a rare but troublesome problem, virtually abolished by antibiotics given during surgery.

When can I drive?

Not for at least 1 week and thereafter when you feel fully in control.

When can I return to work?

This obviously depends on the operation you have had and your type of employment. For groin hernias, I normally recommend 2 weeks away from office duties and 4 - 6 weeks away from heavy manual work. Similarly, heavy gardening, lifting suitcases or vigorous gym exercise should be avoided for 4 weeks. These times may be reduced after a keyhole operation.

For all other activities, please allow common sense to prevail. In general, if you are causing discomfort in the wound then you are over-doing it!