If general anesthesia is given or if you are
taking narcotics for pain, it may cause you
to feel diff erent for 2 or 3 days. You may
have trouble remembering and feel tired.
You should not drive, drink alcohol, or
make any big decisions for at least 2 days.
When you wake up from the anesthesia,
you will be able to drink small amounts
of liquid. If you do not feel sick, you
can begin eating regular foods
Continue to drink about 8 to 10
glasses of water each day.
Eat a high-fi ber diet so you don’t strain
while having a bowel movement.
Slowly increase your activity. Be sure
to get up and walk every hour or so
to prevent blood clot formation
You may go home the same day for a
simple repair. If you have other health
conditions or complications, such as
nausea, vomiting, bleeding, or infection
after surgery, you may stay longer.
Work and Return to School
After recovery, you can usually
return to work within 2 to 3 days.
You will not be able to lift anything
over 10 pounds, climb, or do strenuous
activity for 4 to 6 weeks following
surgical repair of an umbilical hernia.
Lifting limitation may last for 6 months
for complex or recurrent repairs
Always wash your hands before and
after touching near your incision site.
Do not soak in a bathtub until your
stitches, Steri-Strips®, or staples are
removed. You may take a shower
after the second postoperative
day unless you are told not to.
Follow your surgeon’s instructions on
when to change your bandages.
A small amount of drainage from the
incision is normal. If the dressing is
soaked with blood, call your surgeon.
If you have Steri-Strips in place,
they will fall off in 7 to 10 days.
If you have a glue-like covering over the
incision, allow the glue to fl ake off on its own.
Avoid wearing tight or rough clothing.
It may rub against your incisions and
make it harder for them to heal.
Protect the new skin, especially
from the sun. The sun can burn
and cause darker scarring.
Your scar will heal in about 4 to 6
weeks and will become softer and
continue to fade over the next year.
Avoid straining with bowel movements by
increasing the fiber in your diet with high-
fiber foods or over-the-counter medicines
(like Metamucil® and FiberCon®). Be sure you
are drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water each day
The amount of pain is different for each
person. The new medicine you will need
after your operation is for pain control, and
your doctor will advise how much you should
take. You can use throat lozenges if you
have sore throat pain from the tube placed
in your throat during your anesthesia
When to Contact
Contact your surgeon if you have:
Pain that will not go away
Pain that gets worse
A fever of more than 101°F or 38.3°C
Swelling, redness, bleeding, or
bad-smelling drainage from
your wound site
Strong or continuous abdominal pain
or swelling of your abdomen
No bowel movement 2 to 3 days
after the operatio
Everyone reacts to pain in a different way. A
scale from 0 to 10 is used to measure pain.
At a “0,” you do not feel any pain. A “10” is
the worst pain you have ever felt. Following
a laparoscopic procedure, pain is sometimes
felt in the shoulder. This is due to the gas
inserted into your abdomen during the
procedure. Moving and walking help to
decrease the gas and the shoulder pain. 3
Extreme pain puts extra stress on your body
at a time when your body needs to focus
on healing. Do not wait until your pain has
reached a “10” or is unbearable before telling
your provider. It is much easier to control pain
before it becomes severe
Common Medicines to Control Pain
Narcotics or opioids are used for severe
pain. Possible side effects of narcotics are
sleepiness; lowered blood pressure, heart
rate, and breathing rate; skin rash and
itching; constipation; nausea; and difficulty
urinating. Some examples of narcotics include
morphine, oxycodone (Percocet®/Percodan®),
and hydromorphone (Dilaudid®). Medications
can be given to control many of the side
effects of narcotics.
Non-Narcotic Pain Medication
Most non-opioid analgesics are classified
as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs). They are used to treat mild pain and
inflammation or combined with narcotics
to treat severe pain. Possible side effects of
NSAIDs are stomach upset, bleeding in the
digestive tract, and fluid retention. These
side effects usually are not seen with short-
term use. Let your doctor know if you have
heart, kidney, or liver problems. Examples
of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, Motrin®,
Aleve®, and Toradol® (given as a shot).
Pain Control without Medicine
Splinting your stomach by placing
a pillow over your abdomen with
firm pressure before coughing or
movement can help reduce the pain.
Distraction helps you focus on other activities
instead of your pain. Listening to music,
playing games, or other engaging activities
can help you cope with mild pain and anxiety.
Splinting Your Stomach
Guided imagery helps you direct and
control your emotions. Close your eyes
and gently inhale and exhale. Picture
yourself in the center of somewhere
beautiful. Feel the beauty surrounding
you and your emotions coming back to
your control. You should feel calmer.