Hernias occur when there is an opening or weakening in the muscles of the abdomen, allowing organs to protrude. Hernias can also protrude into the groin area. Very small hernias may cause no symptoms, but larger hernias may cause very serious problems and must be repaired surgically.
Type of Hernia
Recovery time after hernia surgery depends in part on the type of hernia being repaired. Hiatal hernias occur when the top part of the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm, while inguinal hernias occur when the intestines protrude into the groin area. Umbilical hernias occur in the naval area.
Doctors often perform hernia surgery laparoscopically, using a few very small incisions. Sometimes surgery cannot be performed laparoscopically and an open surgery must be done, in which the surgeon makes one very long incision. Patients recover from laparoscopic surgery much more quickly than from open surgery.
The recovery time after hernia surgery varies depending on the location of the hernia and the surgical techniques employed. In most cases, patients return to normal day-to-day activities within just a few days. Patients generally return to more strenuous activities such as recreational activities or even sports within two to four weeks.
Returning to Work
Depending on what type of work patients do, they usually return to work within a couple of weeks. Patients with desk jobs can return to work sooner than those with more physical jobs, of course.
Patients should not lift heavy objects for six to eight weeks after hernia surgery, and should not drive as long as they are taking narcotic pain medications.