Umbilical Hernia Post-Operative Instructions
You have had an Open Umbilical Hernia Repair. This just means your hernia was in the belly button region, and sutures were placed to repair the hernia. After having your hernia repaired, there are no limitations on your diet. After the surgery, you may feel full or nauseated easily. This is usually due to the anesthesia during the operation. If it persists beyond one or two days, you should call the office for advice.
You have been given a prescription for narcotic pain medication. This often slows the bowels down and you may become constipated. It is advisable to take a laxative the first few days after the operation to make sure you do not become overly constipated, because if you are straining during a bowel movement this can damage your hernia repair in the first few weeks after the operation.
The incisions have “Steri-Strips” (or small tape) across them, and a plastic adhesive dressing over the top to protect them from water. You may wash over the plastic dressings in the shower. Please do not soak in a tub or bath as this may loosen the plastic dressings and they may fall off, leaving the incisions exposed. After about 48-72 hours, the incisions in the skin are watertight, but they are still very weak, so it’s important to protect them for about 7 days. Leave the plastic dressings on for at least 72 hours after the operation. You may remove the plastic and underlying gauze after 72 hours, but leave the Steri-Strips in place. You may then wash gently with soap and water over the Steri-strips, but be sure to dry them well after your shower. If the Steri-strips have not fallen off by themselves in 7 days after your surgery, you may remove them.
Your activity level should be reduced the first two weeks after the surgery. The incisions are about 60% strength of normal tissue at 6 weeks. We generally advise not to lift anything more than 15lbs. for 6 weeks. You can increase your activity after the first two weeks. I often advise to “let pain be your guide” in your recovery. This just means you can steadily increase your activity as long your pain is under control. Often after surgery you may have a few days where you feel really well. This is usually when people increase their activity level and the following day feel very sore or very tired. This is normal. It’s OK to do this, just be aware you may experience these “ups and downs” for a few weeks. Just as long as you are improving from week to week, you are on the right road to recovery.
If you should have fevers, chills, increasing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or an increasing bulge in the incision area please contact the office. If you have any other questions or concerns during your recovery, please do not hesitate to either email or call us at anytime. Our phone system electronically and immediately alerts us to new messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so if you do call after hours please leave a message and someone will return your call. Please call the office to make your post-operative appointment 7-10 days from the surgery.
It was a pleasure helping you with you care.
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