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Umbilical (Belly button) hernia repair — Post Operative Information/Instructions

Immediately after surgery:

Most umbilical hernia repair surgeries are completed in 60 to 90 minutes.  After surgery is finished, you will be transported  to a recovery room, and a nurse will closely monitor your vital signs.  You will initially be groggy and confused from the anesthesia, but this will gradually resolve.  Dr. Mueller will talk to you after surgery, but you may not remember the conversation due to the anesthesia medications.  For this reason, he will also contact either a family member or someone you designate to discuss the results of your surgery with them.  You will most likely have some mild pain that will be controlled with pain medication.  Some patients experience nausea from the anesthesia, and if this occurs you will be given anti-nausea medication.  The vast majority of patients go home on the same day as surgery, so please designate someone to give you a ride home.

Home Care:

It is normal to experience the following for several days after surgery:

  • Shoulder pain — this is referred pain from the gas used to inflate your abdomen during surgery.  It improves with time and walking.

  • Pain at the incisions — this is usually treated by taking 600 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours, but for more severe pain you may take the prescribed hydrocodone.

  • Low grade fever — a low grade fever up to 100.5° F (38 °C) is normal after surgery. Taking deep breaths and walking will usually reduce the fever.

  • Nausea — some patients experience mild nausea within the first 24 hours that resolves as the anesthesia drugs leave your system.

  • Fatigue — it may take up to one week for the fatigue from the stress of surgery and anesthesia to resolve.

  • Abdominal bloating — this is very common and will improve with time and walking.

  • Swelling — swelling at the location of the hernia is repair is common and should resolve in 2 weeks 

Diet:

You should eat smaller meals for the first 24 hours then resume a normal diet.

Wound care:

  • Your small incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and will not require removal.

  • Remove the clear dressings and the white gauze 48 hours after the surgery.

  • One-inch cloth dressings, called "steri strips," cover each incision and should be left in place until they fall off on their own in 2 weeks.

  • Applying an ice pack over your incisions for 30 minutes every hour for the first 48 hours will decrease pain and swelling.

  • You may shower 24 hours after surgery, allowing soapy water to run over the incisions. Then rinse and blot dry.

  • Do NOT bathe or submerge incisions underwater for at least two weeks

Exercise:

You should walk as much as you can tolerate, but do NOT lift more than 20 pounds or perform strenuous exercise until you see Dr. Mueller 2 weeks after surgery.

 

Contact Dr. Mueller or his office should you develop any of the following:

  • Fever over 100.5° F

  • Worsening abdominal pain

  • Redness or drainage from incisions

  • Vomiting more than 24 hours

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)

  • Leg swelling or calf pain

  • Inability to urinate after 8 hours

  • Lack of a bowel movement for 3 or more days

 

Call 911 if you experience severe shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or chest pain.

Follow Up:

You should schedule a post operative follow up appointment with Dr. Mueller for 2 to 3 weeks after your surgery.

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