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Inguinal Hernia Repair: Before Your Surgery

Location of an inguinal hernia

What is inguinal hernia repair?

Inguinal hernia repair is a type of surgery. An inguinal hernia is a bulge under the skin in your groin. It happens when there is a weak spot in the groin muscle and a piece of the intestines or tissue pokes through the muscle. This can be painful.

You may have pain when you're active. Or it may be painful when you strain during a bowel movement or lift something heavy.

Surgery can help with your pain. It can also prevent serious problems that can happen if an organ or tissue gets stuck in the hernia.

There are two ways to do this surgery. In open surgery, the doctor makes one cut near the hernia. This cut is called an incision. In laparoscopic surgery, the doctor makes several very small incisions and uses a thin, lighted scope and small tools.

During surgery, the doctor pushes the bulge back in place. He or she may place a piece of mesh on top of the bulge to help keep it in place. The doctor then sews the healthy tissue back together.

Laparoscopic surgery leaves several small scars. Open surgery leaves one long scar. The scars fade with time.

After the surgery, you can probably return to light activity after 1 to 3 weeks. How long it takes will depend on the type of surgery.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The surgery will take about 1 to 2 hours.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter P932 in the search box to learn more about "Inguinal Hernia Repair: Before Your Surgery".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.