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Open Herniorrhaphy


  • A herniorrhaphy is surgery to repair a hernia. A hernia is a bulge or lump that may be seen or felt under your skin. A hernia forms when your intestine (bowel) or other tissues push through weak muscles in your abdomen. A ventral hernia may be in any area of your abdomen, such as around your belly button. With an inguinal or femoral hernia, your hernia bulges down from your lower abdomen towards your groin. Your groin is the area where your abdomen and upper legs meet at your pelvis or hips. You may get a hernia on one or both sides of your groin. If part of your bowel is trapped inside the hernia, you may need a herniorrhaphy right away.
    Common Places for Hernias
  • Hernias can happen as you age and the muscles in your abdomen weaken. Extra body weight and pressure on the abdomen can also make your muscles weaker. You may have pressure in your abdomen from heavy lifting or long-lasting coughing or straining. During a herniorrhaphy, your caregiver may push your bowel back into your abdomen, or he may cut out your hernia. A herniorrhaphy can decrease abdominal pain, and the area may look and feel better.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • Your caregiver will check how your wound is healing. You may need an ultrasound of your abdomen. An ultrasound may show if you have a new hernia. If you have a drain, your caregiver may remove it.

Wound and drain care:

You will have a bandage over your wound when you leave the hospital. Do not take the bandage off until your caregiver says it is okay. Ask your caregiver how to care for your wound and any drains you may have.


Ask your caregiver when you may drive, return to work, or have sexual intercourse (sex). Do not exercise until your caregiver says it is okay. Ask your caregiver to help you plan your exercise program.


Ask your caregiver how much weight you can safely lift.


Weighing more than your caregiver says increases your risk of getting a hernia. The right diet can help you stay at a healthy weight. Ask caregivers for help making the best diet plan for you.

Bowel movements:

Constipation and straining (pushing hard) during a bowel movement increases your risk of getting another hernia. If you are constipated, your stools may be hard, dry, and difficult to push out. Exercise, such as walking, can help you have regular stools. Eating foods such as fruit and bran, and drinking water and prune juice may help soften your stool. Caregivers may suggest that you take a stool softener or fiber medicine to help your stools stay soft and regular.


Your wound may heal slowly if you smoke. It is never too late to quit smoking. Smoking harms your body in many ways. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Quitting smoking will improve your health and the health of those around you. Ask caregivers for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.


  • You are male and your testicles are swollen or tender.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You are constipated.
  • You see or feel a lump in the area where your hernia was.
  • Your groin or thigh is numb.
  • Your wound is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, medicine, or care.


  • You are unable to have a bowel movement.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • You have severe (very bad) pain in your abdomen.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You are urinating less in amount, less often, or not at all.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your stitches or staples come apart.
  • Your wound will not stop bleeding.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.