In open/incisional hernia repair surgery, the surgeon makes one long incision in the groin to access and repair the abdominal or inguinal hernia, according to WebMD. This procedure has shorter surgical times than the minimally invasive method, but open repair patients have "significantly higher pain" postoperatively, according to Harmza and colleagues.
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Take It Slow With Meals
The first post-operative meal should be liquid or very light, according to St. Joseph Medical Center. If well-tolerated--i.e., "no nausea, vomiting or abdominal discomfort"--the patient may progressively add more solids to subsequent meals.
Some Activity Is Good
Patients should walk (including stairs) beginning on the first post-op day. However strenuous activities should be avoided. St. Joseph Medical Center states patients shouldn't drive if they still have pain, and shouldn't lift more than five pounds for at least three weeks.
Caring for the Incision Site
Patients should follow physician instructions regarding keeping the wound clean and dry. St. Joseph Medical Center recommends avoiding soaking the wound in the bath or a pool for at least two weeks.
Return to Work
Patients can return to work when they feel comfortable and depending on their job requirements, says the Baylor College of Medicine.
Full Return to Daily Activities
A follow-up to gauge progress is usually scheduled about two weeks post-op, according to Baylor. Baylor and St. Joseph Medical Center say full recovery to "normal strenuous activities" takes four to eight weeks, depending on the patient.
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- "Open inguinal hernia repair (herniorrhaphy, hernioplasty)"; WebMD; Monica Rhodes; April 2009.
- "Four-arm randomised trial comparing laparoscopic and open hernia repairs"; International Journal of Surgery; Hamza Y, Gabr E, Hammadi H, Khalil R; January 2010.
- "Post Operative Instructions for Laparoscopic and Open Hernia Surgery"; St. Joseph Medical Center; 2010.
- "Hernia Repair Abdominal"; Baylor College of Medicine; The Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery; February 2010.