After all types of herniorrhaphy the patient is generally able to walk out of the hospital with moderate discomfort tempered by oral pain medication and residual local anesthetic effects if local was used (as it commonly is regardless of anesthetic choice). During the first few days a strong oral codeine analogue agent may be required. Little or no pain medication is required after that.
During this time, the patient can walk around easily and climb stairs in moderation. The patient will usually feel comfortable enough to return to non-strenuous work in a week or less. The patient should not drive for the first week both because sudden stress in an accident may disrupt the repair, and more importantly, discomfort may slow response time to an emergency and lead to an accident. Patients usually feel comfortable enough to resume sex in the second week.
During the remaining recovery period of up to six weeks the patient is asked not to lift heavy objects (greater than 25lbs.) and to not engage in strenuous exercise. This is because it takes the body's healing process that long to strengthen the repair to 80% of its original tensile strength. It never returns to full strength. With laparoscopic and mesh repairs the recovery to adequate strength is claimed to be shorter, and the patients are generally allowed to resume full activity sooner. The patient may feel occasional twinges in the incision for an additional few months. In healing, the body forms a slight swelling under the incision. This is called a "healing ridge" and is normal. It will gradually recede and does not represent a recurrence of the hernia. The pink color of the scar will take several months to disappear.
The recurrence rates for all types of herniorrhaphy should ideally be under 5% in good hands. Long-term results (20 years) are the critical criteria for assessing a procedure's effectiveness. Standardization of technique and long term results are not yet established for laparoscopic repairs which have been done in large numbers for less than ten years.
Link to this frame from your Personal Thumbnails page?