Incisional Hernias

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Incisional Hernias - Home care instructions

Care of the Incision

Surgical incisions are covered with a gauze pad. It is not uncommon for the pad to become saturated with blood during the first 24 hours. Do not become alarmed; just change the bandages as needed.


You can take a shower 24-36 hours after surgery. Be sure to gently dry your incisions and replace the bandage.

After 2-3 days, it is not necessary to keep your incisions covered but it will usually make you more comfortable to do so as you increase your activity.

If you do not see metal clips or sutures, the sutures are in the skin itself and will dissolve. This occurs 3-4 weeks after surgery and may be associated with a little drainage from the incision.

It is common for patients to notice some black and blue or maroon discoloration around the incision. This represents a small amount of blood and is normal. It should not alarm you. It is also common for this to only become apparent 2-3 days after surgery as blood in the tissues moves to the surface.

Contact the doctor if your incision is red, hot and tender; you may have an infection.

You have been given antibiotics in the operating room prior to surgery. Unless discussed with you, you do not need them after surgery.

You may also notice black and blue discoloration near your incision. This is not cause for alarm, even if it occurs a few days after the surgery. It will usually resolve in 7 to 10 days.

It is normal for the incisions and the hernia site to be hard and swollen following surgery. This is called a healing ridge and represents wound healing. It is not a hernia and will go away in eight to twelve weeks.

Do not tan your incision for one year after surgery, as it will darken your scar.

Some people believe Vitamin A and Vitamin E applied to the incision helps wound healing.

Bowel habits

Following your surgery you may notice alterations in your bowel habits.

Diarrhea can occur from the surgery itself or from the antibiotics you received.

Constipation is very common and results from the narcotic pain medicine you are taking.

If you or your family were not informed of anything unusual after surgery, rest assured that everything is fine and went according to plan.

Contact your doctor if you experience:

Significant bleeding

Difficulty breathing

Persistent light headedness

Chills and/or fever greater than 101F

Pus or infection at the incisions

Inability to pass urine

Severe pain

Any worrisome condition

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murugu123 

i am 54 years lady at present i have an incisional Hernia, 4 years back i had undergone operation uterus removing whether immediate surgery is required but i don't have any pain

Sarahsue 

10 days Post op from ingiunal repair recurrence and femoral hernia repair (same side). Cement Twinkie at the surgery site. Anyone? I am a 42 y/o female.

Marc_Twain 

My 73 yr old mother needs umbilical hernia repair. Skeptical about medical procedures, she is put it off til it is bigger. Does not like idea of Biologic implants. What is safest mesh material to use? Or, in general, which mesh material has the least complications / lawsuits ? Polypropylene, polyester,...what ? Thank you for any anticipated answer.

Squeeker 

I am scheduled to have a rather large Incisional Hernia repaired, because it is such a large hernia my surgeon has recommended using MESH. I have heard a lot of negative things regarding MESH and do not know which Mesh would be the safest to use. Do you have some suggestions on which MESH would be best?
I did express my concerns to my surgeon but there was no recommendation. Also I was told that if you could have a Cosmetic Surgeon join in with your Surgeon you may have much better results. Is this true?

akab66 

Hi also had umbilical hernia repair surgery 2 months ago and am experiencing burning sensation and pain around the incision. I am passing gas frequently and feel tired often. Have had issues with bloating and pain in the upper part of my stomach for some time and have been told there may be some adhesions. Its just a pity the Doctors do not tell you much about the recovery process and they make you think the surgery is just a simple procedure.

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