Although hernia surgery can usually be performed with a minimally invasive technique, it still takes a decent toll on your body. Don’t expect to head back to work or get back on the practice field the day after surgery. But when can you expect to do some everyday activities after your hernia operation? We take a closer look at the hernia surgery recovery timeline in today’s blog.
The First Few Days
For the first couple days after hernia surgery, patients shouldn’t plan on doing any strenuous activities. Instead, only focus on the basic daily functions, like eating, staying hydrated and going to the bathroom. You can walk around the house or even go outside, but avoid running, bending and crouching. Adults should expect to miss a few days of work, while teens should plan on missing a couple days of school. You can drive if needed, but give it a few days if possible. During this time, you’ll also likely be prescribed pain medications to help handle any discomfort.
Days 4 through 7
Assuming your recovery has stayed on schedule for the first couple days, you can tentatively return to school or work during this time period, although your activities will still be limited. You shouldn’t lift more than 10 pounds, and full days may still be too strenuous. Light activities should become more tolerable, but physical labor or sporting activities are still out of the question, because they can put you at a high risk for a re-herniation. Light stretching and walking can help you get some exercise during this time period.
The Second Week
All patients should be back at work or school by this time, but you still won’t be back to full health. Lifting is usually restricted to 20 pounds, but your doctor can give you more specific instructions. Exercise activities increase to light jogging, biking, yoga or light gym work. Over-the-counter pain relievers can usually take care of any lingering discomfort.
The Third Week
You’re getting close to full recovery, but you’re not quite there yet. Most patients are right around 85 percent of their full health by this time. Heavy lifting should be avoided, as should hard running, but controlled running and lifting are usually allowed. Most patients do not need any OTC pain medications at this time.
The Fourth Week
After four weeks, most patients are back to normal or close to it. Assuming they receive clearance from their doctor, patients can return to full athletic activities and full work duties, but keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to feel discomfort at your surgical site during these extreme activities. These symptoms should only continue to decrease as time goes on.
One last thing we want to touch on is returning to sexual activity after hernia surgery. This is something that should be determined by your overall pain and discomfort levels, but it is generally manageable around the second or third week post-op. For more information about hernia surgery or your recovery, reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s office today.