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Blanchard Valley Surgical Specialists

Hernia

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What is a hernia?
  • A hernia is a weakness or tear in the abdominal muscles. In the same way that an inner tube pushes through a damaged tire, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area of the abdominal wall to form a small balloon-like sac.
  • A loop of intestine or abdominal tissue can push into the sac, which may cause a noticeable bulge under the skin. The pressure of tissue pushing through the weakened area can cause significant pain and discomfort.

Where do hernias occur?
  • Any part of the abdominal wall can form a hernia, but the most common site is in the groin. Approximately 80% of all hernia repairs are for hernias in the groin.
  • A hernia can also form at the site of a previous surgery.

Who gets hernias?
  • Hernias are extremely common. More than 15 million hernia repairs are performed annually worldwide.
  • Hernias can develop in men, women, and children. Infants can even be born with a hernia.

What can I do to feel better?
  • Limiting physical activity may reduce the pain and discomfort of a hernia.
  • Surgery repairs the defect and eliminates the chance that a hernia will become strangulated, a condition that is considered a medical emergency.

Recovery
In most cases, patients are able to return home soon after surgery. Before sending you home, the staff will probably make sure that you can eat, drink, urinate, and walk. Before leaving the hospital:
  • Ask for a phone number to call in case you experience problems at home.
  • Ask how to make a follow-up appointment so that your recovery can be monitored.
  • If the incision from your hernia repair is covered with a bandage, ask your doctor or nurse when you should remove it.

Returning to normal <top>
When you return home after surgery, you will ease back into your normal daily activities slowly. Some swelling or discoloration around the incision site is normal. Also, the amount of pain and/or discomfort you experience depends on the location of the hernia, the type of repair, and your personal pain tolerance level. Here are some helpful guidelines, but your surgeon is the best source of information about activities.
  • Driving is generally not recommended for 48 hours following surgery.
  • Be careful while bathing or showering so that you do not wet your incision for a few days.
  • To prevent constipation, it is helpful to eat foods that are high in fiber and to drink plenty of fluids, such as water and fruit juice.
  • Generally avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for six to eight weeks after surgery.
  • Moderate exercise, such as walking, is often recommended and helps toe improve your circulation and speed the healing process.

Going back to work
Depending on your occupation, full recovery from hernia surgery may take anywhere from on to six weeks. If you have a very strenuous job or one that requires heavy lifting, it may be several weeks before you can get back to work. On the other hand, if you have a desk job, you may be back to work in as little as three days.

Call your doctor if you experience:
  • Fever
  • Excessive swelling
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Pain that gets worse

After you have recovered from hernia surgery, you should be on your way to living life to the fullest. Be sure to follow up with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
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