What to expect after surgery
You will wake up from general anaesthesia in the recovery room. Any immediate discomfort will be managed by the anaesthesia and recovery room nursing teams. While in the recovery room, you may experience immediate postoperative nausea, pain, dizziness, and fatigue. These will all fade quickly. If you had general anaesthesia, your throat may feel sore for up to 3 days. This is from the breathing tube, and can be managed with lozenges or tea with honey. If you did not have general anaesthesia, you will not experience this.
While in the recovery room, the nurses will monitor your vital signs, and eventually get you up from the stretcher into a chair, and then provide you with something light to drink. Within about 2 hours after surgery, you will be able to stand and even walk slowly.
You may be discharged after being able to void and drink liquids without significant nausea or vomiting, and after being able to walk without any dizziness. The average patient is discharged 3-6 hours after the surgery ends (some quicker, some slower).
We recommend no driving for the first 2-4 days, and certainly don’t drive while taking pain medication. You will be given a prescription for pain medication. It has a side effect that includes, but is not limited to, nausea and constipation. Most patients report that they use a total of 5 tablets of this pain medication over the first 2 days after surgery, at which point they do not need any pain medication. Some patients report only needing to use extra-strength Panadol for several days.
Recovery: The typical recovery after a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is associated with mild to moderate incisional pain and mild groin discomfort. This may last anywhere from 2 – 14 days, but is almost always gone by the 3rd or 4th week after surgery. By the 3-6 month post-operative visit, less than 0.1% of patients are symptomatic. The groin discomfort during the first week may be secondary to the gas used during surgery, the hernia dissection, or rarely the mesh material or tacks.
Your 3 incisions will have a dressing on them. Your TEP laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery will be performed through a single 10mm incision beneath the belly button, and two additional 5 mm incisions below this along the lower midline. Specific instructions for wound care will be provided upon discharge from the hospital. In general, you may remove the outer dressing after 5 days, and the white tape after 7-10 days.
You may resume your normal diet when you are ready.
Activity: You will be able to stand, walk, and climb stairs with some mild discomfort starting the same evening of surgery. You may shower the first day after surgery, but no bathing or swimming for 5 days.
Regarding exercise, we encourage you to try to walk, use a treadmill, or use a stationary bike without any resistance the first day after surgery. Heavier exercising at the gym, running, or lifting more than 10 kg can generally resume without restriction after 2 weeks. Patients whose job requires heavy lifting should persist with a 10kg limit until 6 weeks postoperatively.
The majority of patients report that they are able to return to work without restrictions after 3 – 7 days. Follow up with your our nurse will occur after about a week.
While we believe the recovery from a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is rapid, please allow yourself up to 3 weeks to feel completely normal/back to your baseline again.