What to Expect After the Operation
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Helping you to make a speedy recovery after surgery for groin hernia repair
What to expect after the operation
Scar and stitches
You’ll have a scar line in your groin approximately 8–10 cm long. This will be closed using dissolvable stitches (sutures), so they will not need to be removed. The scar line is usually covered with a waterproof dressing and so you can shower the very next day.
It is wise to keep the scar covered, clean and dry for the first 14 days. Before leaving the ward, ensure you have additional waterproof dressings to take home. Take care when changing the dressings. Do not try to cleanse the wound, just remove the old dressing and replace it immediately with the new one.
Modern day dressings are fairly robust and do not need to be changed every day. The first dressing change will be after 48 hours. The new dressing can be left in place for up to 7 days before you need to change it again. Covering your scar for 14 days will ensure the wound has healed completely. If you are in any doubt about wound healing after this time, see your general practitioner (GP) or practice nurse for advice.
Many patients have concerns that standing up straight will pull at the stitches. Don’t worry about this. Getting out of bed and standing up straight will actually help you to recover more quickly. The secret to a quick recovery is to keep moving. The first morning you may find your groin a little uncomfortable when you get out of bed, but this will get easier.
You will experience pain and discomfort around the scars, especially for the first few days. Extensive bruising and some swelling is also quite common, but usually settles after a couple of weeks. This is perfectly normal, but everyone is different and will experience varying degrees of discomfort. Taking your pain relief tablets regularly for the first 3 days, as instructed, should help you to mobilise. After day 3, the pain will taper off. When you are discharged from hospital, ask the nurse to explain how and when to take your tablets if you are unsure.
If you need to cough or sneeze, place your hand over the scar and support it. This will help to ease any discomfort.
Wound infection is a potential complication of all surgery; follow the guidelines for wound care carefully to reduce this risk.
Signs of infection can be subtle. The first sign will be an increase in pain, and the wound will look either pink or red and feel warm or hot to touch. If this happens, you will need to see your GP as soon as possible for treatment. Usually a course of antibiotics will clear the infection very quickly.
Many people do not need pain relief after day 3. However, if you do, painkillers may cause constipation, so it’s important to get plenty of fibre in your diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables will help to keep your bowels moving regularly and try to drink plenty of water, but no more than 2 litres per day. Speak with your local pharmacist if you experience constipation.