How do you care for a hernia surgery patient?


Quick Answer

To care for a patient recovering from a hernia surgery, administer pain medication, ice the area, leave the wound covered for 48 hours and ensure the patient takes showers rather than baths for two weeks, says Dr. Matthew Lublin. The patient must avoid heavy lifting and should increase fiber intake.

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Full Answer

Narcotic pain medication may be administered in the dose prescribed by the patient's doctor for the first few days, according to Dr. Lublin. As the pain lessens, the patient may lower the dose or switch to an over-the-counter pain medication. To relieve pain and to prevent swelling, the affected area should be iced for at least 48 hours following surgery.

The bandage and gauze covering the incision may not be removed until 48 hours after surgery, as suggested by Dr. Lublin. The scar should be left untouched without the treatment of ointment, and the surgical tape and stitches should fall off and dissolve on their own. If the leakage from the wound is thick with a foul odor or does not stop, consult the patient's doctor.

Do not allow the recovering patient to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least two weeks following open surgery, as stated by Dr. Lublin, although this can be reduced to one week for a laparoscopic inguinal repair. Although movement should be restricted the first few days, the patient may resume driving 48 hours after surgery provided he has stopped taking the prescribed narcotics, and he can usually return to work after one week.

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