Hernia Surgery is a medical procedure designed to fix a particular type of hernia where the stomach pushes up into the chest through a gap in the diaphragm. In this blog, we take a look at the recovery process. We tell you about how long it takes to recover from the surgery, the dos and don’ts as well as tell you what happens if you feel pain after surgery.
Understanding Hiatal Hernia Surgery
Hiatal hernia surgery is a medical procedure aimed at repairing a specific type of hernia where the stomach protrudes into the chest through the diaphragm’s hiatus. There are three primary types of hiatal hernia surgeries available:
This is the most commonly performed hiatal hernia surgery. It involves a minimally invasive approach, with the surgeon making small incisions in the abdomen.
This is a newer and more advanced type of hiatal hernia surgery that utilises robotic technology to enhance the precision of the procedure.
This type of hiatal hernia surgery is less frequently performed and involves making a larger incision in the abdomen.
The choice of the appropriate hiatal hernia surgery depends on various factors, including the size and type of hernia, the patient’s overall health, and personal preferences. A doctor will thoroughly discuss the available options with the patient and assist them in selecting the most suitable approach.
Why Do You Need Hiatal Hernia Surgery?
People with small hiatal hernias may be able to manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes, medications, and other treatments. However, those with chronic reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that does not respond to medical treatments may need surgery to repair the hernia.
Your Guide to a Smooth Recovery from Hiatal Hernia Operation
Recovering from hiatal hernia surgery necessitates meticulous care and attention to ensure a seamless healing process. Here is a comprehensive guide to navigating your recovery period effectively:
1. Follow your surgeon’s instructions: It is important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon. These instructions may include guidelines on wound care, dietary restrictions, and physical activity limitations.
2. Prioritise rest and limit physical exertion: Grant your body ample time to heal by embracing rest and avoiding strenuous activities. Your surgeon will offer guidance on when you can gradually resume normal activities and exercise.
3. Embrace a soft diet: During the initial stages of your recovery, it is advisable to stick to a soft diet that is gentle on your digestive system and avoids irritating the surgical site. This may include easily digestible foods such as mashed potatoes, soups, and smoothies. Steer clear of tough meats, doughy bread, and other abrasive or hard-to-chew foods.
4. Stay adequately hydrated: Ensure you consume an ample amount of fluids, such as water or decaffeinated beverages, to maintain proper hydration. Sipping fluids while consuming solid foods can help moisten them and facilitate easier swallowing.
5. Avoid eating before bedtime: To minimise the risk of reflux and discomfort, make a conscious effort to abstain from eating for at least three hours before retiring to bed.
How long does it take for a hiatal hernia to heal after surgery?
The length of stay in the hospital after hiatal hernia surgery can vary, but most people stay for one to two days. If you have laparoscopic surgery, you may be able to go home the same day. Recovery time typically takes six to eight weeks, but this can vary depending on your circumstances. Most people take two weeks off work to recover, but those with physically demanding jobs may need to take more time.
How Painful is Recovery From Hiatal Hernia Surgery?
Hiatal hernia surgery can cause discomfort and pain for 2-4 weeks. The pain is usually managed with medication, but if it is severe or you have difficulty swallowing, you should contact your surgeon.
Can I Bend Over After Hiatal Hernia Surgery?
Although it is possible to bend over after surgery for a hiatal hernia, it is strongly discouraged. This is because strain on the body caused by bending, coughing, or lifting can interfere with the surgery. Bending can also put a strain on the surgical wound by putting pressure on it.
Diet After Hiatal Hernia Surgery
After hiatal hernia surgery, it is important to follow a healthy diet to help your body heal. Here are some additional general tips:
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. This will help to keep your stomach from becoming too full and putting pressure on the repaired hernia.
- Avoid foods that are hard to digest, such as fatty foods, spicy foods, and carbonated beverages. These foods can irritate your stomach and make it more difficult to heal.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids help to keep your bowels moving and prevent constipation.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities for at least two weeks after surgery. This will help to prevent the hernia from reopening.
Dos and Don’ts After Hiatal Hernia Surgery
Do The Following:
- Adhere to the prescribed clear liquid diet and opt for easily digestible foods for 2-3 weeks post-surgery, as per the surgeon’s guidance.
- Begin your dietary transition with smaller, gentle meals, including options like clear liquids, soups, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, rice, and steamed chicken, fish, or vegetables.
- Ensure proper hydration by consuming an ample amount of water.
- Take pain relief medication as directed by your surgeon.
- In case of new lumbar swelling or postoperative discomfort following laparoscopic surgery, promptly contact your surgeon.
- Evaluate the feasibility of robotic-assisted PEH repair, which exhibits comparable perioperative outcomes to traditional laparoscopic approaches.
Do Not Do The Following:
- Steer clear of foods that may irritate the oesophagus, such as spicy, acidic, or fatty items, citrus fruits, coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.
- Refrain from lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities for the initial 2-3 weeks after surgery.
- Abstain from smoking or using tobacco products, as they can impede the healing process and heighten the risk of complications.
While this blog is intended to educate you on some of the things you should be aware of following a hiatal hernia surgery, the best recovery advice should always come from your healthcare provider. It is therefore important that you visit your surgeon after the procedure is completed for a thorough understanding of the Hiatal Hernia Surgery recovery process.
1. How Long Does It Take for A Hiatus Hernia to Heal?
The time it takes for a Hiatus Hernia to heal can vary from person to person. In general, it may take several weeks to a few months for most individuals to experience significant improvement. However, complete healing may take longer, and some people may require ongoing management or lifestyle changes to manage their condition effectively.
2. What is The Fastest Way To Recover From Hernia Surgery?
The speed of recovery from hernia surgery depends on several factors, including the type of hernia, surgical technique used, and individual health. However, there are some general tips to aid in a faster recovery:
- Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully.
- Rest and avoid strenuous activities for the recommended period.
- Eat a balanced diet to support healing and reduce constipation.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take prescribed medications as directed.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Gradually increase physical activity under medical guidance.
Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice on your recovery process.
3. Can I Bend After a Hernia Surgery?
After hernia surgery, it’s generally advisable to avoid bending or lifting heavy objects for a specified period, as this can strain the surgical site and potentially lead to complications. Follow your surgeon’s specific instructions regarding bending and lifting restrictions, as they may vary depending on the type of hernia and the surgical technique used. Typically, you’ll be advised to avoid bending at the waist or lifting heavy objects for a few weeks to ensure proper healing.
5. What Is The Best Recovery Position After Hernia Surgery?
The best recovery position after hernia surgery is typically lying flat on your back with your head slightly elevated and your legs straight. This position helps reduce strain on the surgical site and promotes blood circulation. However, it’s essential to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding the recommended posture and any special considerations based on your specific surgery. They will provide you with guidance on how to position yourself comfortably during the recovery period.