What Happens after Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery?
New Delhi [India], July 15: Laparoscopic hernia surgery is an advanced minimally invasive approach with a very high success rate compared to open surgery. “There are different treatment options for hernia, but if you are seeking effective treatment that guarantees quick recovery with no complications, laparoscopic surgery is the best resort,” says a senior hernia specialist at Pristyn Care.
Typically, laparoscopic surgery for hernia repair is performed under general anaesthesia. It is a key-hole procedure that involves making a small incision near the belly button and inflating the abdomen with CO2 gas. This elevates the abdomen and provides a better view of the pelvic organs for the surgeon.
The surgeon then pushes the hernia back into place with the assistance of a camera-fitted laparoscope. A mesh is occasionally inserted to hold the surrounding muscles in place. This prevents the organ from perforating through the weakened muscles again.
While recovering after a laparoscopic hernia operation, the primary objective is to manage pain, promote wound healing, and regain abdominal muscle health.
Recovery from laparoscopic surgery is different for each patient. Each patient recovers at his own pace.
Factors that play a crucial role in determining the rate of recovery after the laparoscopic hernia surgery include:
- The overall health of the patient
- The extent of surgery
- If there is any intraoperative complication
If you are planning to undergo laparoscopy-assisted hernia surgery and are worried about the surgery outcomes, then this is just the right place for you. Read further to determine what a patient experiences after a hernia operation and how to go through the recovery period.
What to Expect After a Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
Generally, people who undergo laparoscopic hernia repair experience the following common side-effects from the surgery:
Postoperative pain and discomfort: When a patient awakens from anaesthesia in the recovery room, they may experience discomfort. It is necessary to ensure that the pain is managed appropriately.
Restricted physical activity after surgery: There are no established guidelines for activity following laparoscopic procedures. In some cases, doctors usually recommend not to drive for two weeks. Drive only when you are confident in your ability to stop the vehicle in an emergency; otherwise, have someone drive you. Swimming and bathing are prohibited as well. If you are able, you may take the stairs. When beginning routine exercise following surgery, use common sense and gradually increase your activity level.
Limited Sexual activity: Intercourse should be avoided for at least two weeks after a hernia operation. The period can also vary depending on the extent of the procedure. Sexual activity is typically not restricted following laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. In such cases, the patient is likely to experience discomfort and pain for a week or two around the incision site.
In male patients, the scrotum may be discoloured, tender, or noticeably swollen following surgery. The swelling usually subsides within a week or two, and the patient can resume normal activities and sexual intercourse. Indulging in sexual activity before proper healing can result in complications.
Abdominal discomfort / bloating: After laparoscopic hernia surgery, the patient can expect some degree of abdominal pain and swelling. This occurs due to intestinal distension and resolves over time. Gas pains in the intraperitoneal cavity are caused by gas trapped outside the intestines and the abdominal cavity.
Nausea: It is a widespread side effect of laparoscopy. Anaesthesia drugs are the primary reason for nausea following hernia surgery. In addition, pain medication or antibiotics can also cause nausea after the first 24 hours of the surgery. Consult your surgeon if the problem persists for more than 2-3 days.
Pain in the shoulder: Carbon dioxide gas used to boost the abdomen during laparoscopy artificially can irritate the phrenic nerve. This is due to trapped carbon dioxide gas against the diaphragm (breathing muscle). This irritation feels like pain and discomfort in the chest, and up into the shoulder region, a condition referred to as “referred pain.” The discomfort may occur when taking deep breaths. This type of pain after hernia surgery can last for several days. It will eventually resolve on its own, but walking and moving around can assist. Massage, cold/heat packs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or paracetamol) frequently provide the quickest relief.
If the pain persists or worsens, it is necessary to rule out other possible causes of chest pain, such as heart or lung problems.
Sore throat: Some patients may experience a sore throat due to the tube placed during anaesthesia. Lozenges for the throat or warm tea help alleviate the discomfort, which should resolve within a few days.
Minor bruises: Bruises may develop at the incision sites in some patients. This is because of “the trocars,” a type of plastic sleeve capable of cutting tiny vessels just beneath the skin. These usually self-resolve. Pain in the area of the incisions is common and will subside over several days. Due to the nerves being cut, you may experience “pins and needles” at the incision site. These nerves will eventually heal.
In addition to managing the above-mentioned side-effects of hernia surgery with the instructions of the doctor, the patient also should ensure the following things:
- Proper wound care: Doctors advise the patients to keep the wounds dry and clean. There is no need for special creams or ointments. The incisions are closed with a suture placed beneath the skin that dissolves naturally. The sutures are covered with a surgical glue called “derma-bond.” This covers the incision and remains in place for at least two weeks. Remove the glue with soap and water and gentle scrubbing only when the doctor allows it.
- Careful while taking a shower: Doctors allow you to shower for only 36 hours following the surgery. The individual can remove any band-aids from the incisions before showering. Also, refrain from itching and using any harsh soaps around the incision site as these can lead to rupturing of sutures and inflammation.
It is normal to notice small pieces of tape (referred to as steri-strips) adhered directly to the skin. It is acceptable to get these small tapes wet while showering. The tapes will begin to peel away from the ends 7–10 days after surgery. At this point, they have served their purpose, and the patient may peel them completely off gently. Remember, for two weeks, no baths, pools, or hot tubs to avoid any infections.
- Avoid medication overdose: Prescription medications for postoperative pain should be used sparingly because they have the potential to cause constipation. Narcotic analgesia can occasionally aid in sleep.
- Use a heat pack: It is safe to apply a heat pack to the lower abdomen. Coughing can be a source of discomfort. Using a pillow to support your abdomen while coughing can be beneficial.
What to do in case of severe postoperative problems?
It is quite normal to experience some discomfort and pain for a few days after hernia correction surgery. These usually resolve themselves and are nothing to worry about. However, if the discomforts become intense or notice any postoperative complications like inflammation, reddening of the skin, and bleeding, get in touch with a hernia specialist.
You can contact a Pristyn Care hernia specialist for expert advice. Pristyn Care houses some of the most skilled specialists and laparoscopic surgeons all across the country. They have treated several hernia patients with negligible complication rates. You can easily book your appointment with one of their doctors through their website www.pristyncare.com.