Abdominal hernia repair recovery takes longer than expected, especially in women

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | General Health | Monday, March 14, 2016 - 12:30 PM

Abdominal hernia repair in womenAbdominal hernia repair recovery has been found to take longer than expected, especially in women. The findings from the Mayo Clinic suggest that patients should be able to quickly return to their normal activities following an abdominal hernia repair, but many patients still experience pain and fatigue up to several days after the surgery. Furthermore, individuals under the age of 60 and women were found to have longer recoveries.

Senior author Juliane Bingener-Casey said, “Physicians may need to work with patients to set more realistic expectations about recovery and help them better cope with pain and fatigue after the procedure. It may be that people expect, when they’ve seen their neighbors after laparoscopic gall bladder surgery and they’re back taking a walk the next day that they’ll be able to do the same thing with laparoscopic ventral hernia repair. They will probably find out that it takes several days before they start moving the way they usually do.”

Laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is performed when a gap forms in-between the muscles in the abdomen. It is the most common form of surgery for an abdominal surgery with 90,000 ventral hernia repairs occurring annually in the U.S. alone.

The researchers looked at 18 patients up to one week after their surgery, which is considered the worst part of the recovery. Dr. Bingener-Casey explained, “It’s worse than expected for the patients probably. So I think it’s important for patients to have a realistic expectation, so they’re not surprised and disappointed. For the surgeons, it’s important to look at what we can do to improve recovery. Is it the pain control, is there other help we can provide to get through the pain or through the fatigue for the time after surgery?”

Personalized approaches to surgery and recovery are being explored to determine if they would benefit patients.

Recovering after abdominal hernia repair

Once the surgery for your abdominal hernia is completed, you now enter the recovery phase. Here are some things you can expect when recovering from an abdominal hernia repair.

  • After you wake up from your surgery, you may feel groggy with IV still in your arm. Your incision will be wrapped, and soon after the nurses will give you something to drink or eat – most likely soft food – you will most likely get up and walk around as well.
  • Once you can urinate, walk, and eat, you can go home, but it’s best that someone stays with you for the first few days.
  • Your doctor will give you at-home care instructions, which are important to follow to minimize your risk of complications.
  • You will be given pain medication prescription, which is good to fill prior to the surgery, so you have the drugs on hand.
  • You will probably feel tired, so get as much rest as possible.
  • Your doctor will instruct you when it is okay to partake in daily tasks such as showering, eating, lifting, and working. You may be able to complete many of these daily tasks within a few days, other tasks may require longer recovery time.
  • If you notice any of the following symptoms, head to the hospital right away: fever, excessive sweating, difficulty urinating, redness, bleeding, and worsening pain.

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