What is the recovery like for an inguinal hernia repair operation?

Gracenmel asked...

What is the recovery like for an inguinal hernia repair operation? My 74 year old mother has this operation scheduledand I am wondering what we will be facing post-op.

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

An inguinal hernia occurs when a part of the intestine protrudes through an opening in the lower abdominal wall. This causes a bulge in the abdomen, which can be uncomfortable when pressed. Inguinal hernias occur in the groin, and are much more likely to happen in males than females. This type of hernia is often repaired surgically, as there is a risk that the intestine in the hernia can obstruct, which can be dangerous.

Inguinal hernia surgery is done two ways: open vs. laproscopic. For open hernia repair surgery, a single long incision is made in the groin, where the hernia is pushed back into place, and then the weak abominal muscles are closed with sutures (herniorrhaphy). With laproscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several tiny incisions in the abdomen, inserts the laparoscope and other surgical instruments, and inflates the abdomen with air so that the organs are visualized. Mesh is placed over the opening in the abdominal wall to repair it.

As for recovery, it really depends on what type of surgery they do and how robust your mother is with medical procedures. The general rule is that it can take up to one month to resume "normal" activity levels. If you have more questions, it would be best to speak to your mother's surgeon.