I am a week out of surgery and wanted to share my experiences so far. I researched far & wide and decided to go for open surgery rather than laporscopic.
I also read enough to know that i did not trust mesh from Duval (makers of Bard and Krug mesh). This company waited until the FDA forced them to recall one of their meshes. The company knew about all the complaints and would not voluntarally recall the product.
Find a surgeon who performs 200+ hernia sugeries per year. The last thing you want is a rookie practicing on you!!
The first 24hrs after surgery was great. Then the constipation and bloating kicked in. It took 48hrs before i had a movement. I chose to get off the pain meds rather than deal with the bloat.
I sleep in a recliner for 3 days because i only felt pain when going to lay down and getting up. Basically, all you need to do is move slow and no hard laughing, coughing or sneezing. I iced the area around the incition area for 20 min on and 20 min off. I did this whenever i thought about it.
Now, i will copy and paste the best information i found about recovery (especially in the first week).
You will go to the recovery room after your operation. You will probably have minimal discomfort because the local anesthetic that was injected will make the area numb for 6 to 12 hours.
Following this initial period, you will notice pain and stiffness at the site of surgery. The more you walk the less stiffness and pain you will experience. It is not uncommon for you to have more discomfort on the second and third day after an open hernia repair than you did on the first.
This is because the local anesthetic has worn off. By the sixth to seventh day, you should be ready for all of your normal activities.
You can eat a regular diet without any restrictions after surgery. This, of course, will be limited by other illnesses you may have, such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
Here are some general tips:
• On the first day eat small, light meals and liquids. Progress to a normal diet as tolerated.
• Nausea and vomiting from anesthesia are not uncommon for 24 hours. If you feel nauseous, take clear liquids only. Call the office if nausea and vomiting persist for greater than 36 hours.
• Do not take any alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours and while you are taking narcotic pain killers such as Vicodin (hydrocodone) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) with codeine.
With the exception of heavy lifting and vigorous exercise, you can resume normal activities, including driving, walking and sexual activity, once you feel you are ready. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know you are doing something you shouldn’t. If it hurts, don’t do it. Here are some guidelines:
• For 24 to 48 hours after surgery you will most likely not want to do much. Although you should get rest during this time, it is equally important to get up and walk.
• It is okay to go up and down stairs, and it is encouraged.
• Do not drive while you are taking narcotic pain medicines and while your incisions hurt. This may reduce your ability to move quickly.
• Your thought processes may take 24 to 48 hours to return to normal because of anesthesia. Do not make any important business or personal decisions during this time.
• You can return to work when you feel comfortable that you can perform your job safely and at the level you and your employer expect. Usually this is a minimum of one week. If your job involves heavy lifting you should stay out of work for 2-4 weeks.
• Most people find that they fatigue easily during the second and even the third week, so don’t overload your schedule.
• Do not return to exercise or strenuous activity until you are seen for a follow-up.
Pain and Discomfort-
It is normal to have pain after your operation. How much pain a patient experiences usually depends on the individual and not on the operation. Pain normally is located over the incision and in the groin. If you or your family were not informed of anything unusual after surgery, rest assured that everything is fine and the procedure went according to plan.
You should keep ice on the area of surgery for 24 to 48 hours. This will minimize postoperative swelling and reduce pain. There is no benefit to using ice after the first 48 hours.
You have been given a prescription for a narcotic: hydrocodone (Vicodin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) with codeine. You can take one or two tablets every six hours. If you experience itching or a rash, call the office immediately and stop the medication.
If your pain is not controlled by the medication you have been given, call the office. It is helpful to take some type of pain medicine (narcotic or over-the-counter) before getting out of bed and before going to sleep for the first few days after surgery.
If you do not like the drowsy feeling these medications cause or you do not need as much medication, you can try the following:
• Ibuprofen (600 mg every 6 hours),
• Tylenol (two extra strength every 6 hours) or Aspirin (two every 6 hours)
After surgery you may notice alterations in your bowel habits.
• Diarrhea can occur from the surgery itself or from the antibiotics you received. This is best treated with Metamucil, Amphogel or Yogurt.
• Constipation is very common and results from the narcotic pain medicine you are taking. To avoid constipation, take Hailey’s MO or Milk of Magnesia as directed on the bottle once per day while you take the narcotics.
After surgery, men may notice swelling of their penis and or scrotum and women may notice swelling of the labial area of their vagina. This is from the surgery and will go away. Ice (and for men a scrotal support) will reduce any discomfort.
You may also notice black and blue discoloration of the groin and/or genitals as well as numbness of the area. This. too, is not cause for alarm, even if it occurs a few days after the surgery. It usually goes away in a few days.
• Your incisions are covered with a gauze pad. It is not uncommon for the pad to become saturated with blood during the first 24 hours. Do not become alarmed; just change the bandages as needed.
• You can take a shower 24-36 hours after surgery. Be sure to gently dry your incisions and replace the bandage.
• After 2-3 days, it is not necessary to keep your incisions covered but it will usually make you more comfortable to do so as you increase your activity.
• If you do not see metal clips or sutures, the sutures are in the skin itself and will dissolve. This occurs 3-4 weeks after surgery and may be associated with a little drainage from the incision.
• It is common for patients to notice some black and blue or maroon discoloration around the incisions. This is caused by a small amount of blood and is normal. It should not alarm you. It is also common for this to only become apparent 2-3 days after surgery, as blood in the tissues moves to the surface.
• If your incision is red, hot and tender, you may have an infection. In that case call the office. You have been given antibiotics in the operating room prior to surgery. Unless it was discussed with you, you do not need them after surgery.
• It is normal for the incision to be hard and swollen after surgery. This is called a "healing ridge" and and it is a signal of wound healing. It is not a hernia and it will go away in 8-12 weeks.
• Do not tan your incision for one year after surgery; it will leave a dark scar.
• Some people believe that Vitamin A and Vitamin E, when applied to the incision, help wound healing. These can be obtained at a natural food or drug store.
When to Call the Office-
Call the office immediately if you experience:
• Significant bleeding
• Difficulty breathing
• Persistent light headedness
• Chills and/or fever greater than 101°F
• Pus or infection at the incisions
• Inability to pass urine
• Severe pain
• Any worrisome condition
You will notice significant pain for the first one to five days, especially when coughing, laughing, sneezing or moving too fast. You will have oral pain medications for time period.
You should get up and walk periodically and you may use the stairs, although you will want to move slowly. Some people sleep in a recliner the first or two because it is difficult to go from a standing to a flat lying position and versa.
As the pain eases, you should wean off pain medicines and switch to an antiinflammatory (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc.) As the pain resolves, you may begin activities as tolerated by your body. If you overdo it, you will feel worse pain either or the next day. As you feel better, you should ease back into activities slowly.
It is common to become constipated after abdominal surgery. Due to the surgery itself, anesthesia and the narcotic pain medication, the bowel may be slow to respond. Walking, minimizing the use of narcotics and using stool softeners may help to minimize constipation.
If you have not had a bowel movement for several days and you feel very constipated, which may increase your pain because of the pressure, you may need to take Milk of Magnesia or magnesium citrate. You may use these as directed or in smaller doses over the course of a day (for example, sipping magnesium citrate over four to six hours to gently cleanse your bowels.)
You also might need a gentle enema if you do not get adequate esults from oral medications. You should avoid medications that induce your bowel to spasm such as Ex-Lax. You may also try fiber foods (fruits/vegetables) and supplements (Fibercon, Metamucil, etc.). You must drink plenty of water–six to eight glasses a day–for the fiber to work optimally.
I have heard negatives about the Ethicon also. Many of people are suffering from the meshes not just Davol. I'm not trying to worry you, but please be careful of what you do and monitor your pain, it can take a while for the pain to develop even after an open repair.
The meshes are hardening causing a great deal of problems. I really hope you are of one the people who do not have suffer like so many of us are.
7 days after surgery I went to the follow up appointment. The doc said the swelling under (and around) my incision was called the healing ridge.
On the tenth day I noticed the healing ridge was getting harder. There is no pain when itâs lightly pressed (thatâs as far as I am willing to test it).
I did some research on the healing ridge and found this information:
The HEALING RIDGE, which is a normal occurring event, is a term we use to describe the area of swelling and hardness beneath the incision after hernia repair surgery. This area of temporary swelling normally occurs and is progressive in extent for about 2-3 days after surgery. It may harden somewhat, feeling like a roll of quarters or even a small 'cucumber' beneath the skin in the region. It remains virtually unchanged for 2-3 weeks after which it gradually softens and flattens (taking an additional 2-3 weeks to complete on average).
Another source says The healing ridge usually lasts for several months before it softens and disappears. Heat can quicken the process a bit but it still takes time. If on your follow up examination there is nothing to suggest infection or hernia persistence/recurrence, and you are generally feeling better with progressively less pain and more mobility (albeit a slow process), I would guess that things will gradually resolve.
The size and duration of the 'ridge' is related to the size and complexity of the hernia itself. The ridge is caused by local tissue swelling and inflammation around the implanted mesh as it 'heals' into the surrounding muscle. It is not, per se, a complication, but is part of the normal process. We allow our patients to resume normal activity rapidly despite the presence of the healing ridge feeling that such activity maintains flexibility of the region and inhibits overly dense scar tissue formation.
Conclusion: I will try some heat therapy and start taking small doses of ibuprofen. If the healing ridge is still there after 6 - 8 weeks, i will call the doctor.
I still have this ridge that you are talking about and it's going on 3 years since one of my hernia operations.
People also develop keliod scars, hardening can be felt with keliods as well as the thick ugly scar.
All I can say is keep a close watch on it and if you develop pain, pins and needle feeling, weakness, muscle pain then you should look into the mesh problems further.
I honestly hope you will be OK and don't suffer the way many of us are.
It has been almost two months since my last post. I used a heating pad for 20mins a few times a day and took prescription strength Ibuprofen. I did that for a few weeks. The healing ridge went down considerably. Therefore, I stopped the heat and ibuprofen.
Now, if I press and feel around, on or near the scar, I feel a small long knot. I feel a very slight bruise type feeling when doing this. The area may bulge a little compared to the other side. However, itâs not that noticeable.
Supposedly, this healing ridge will be completely gone in the next week or so.
April 7 - 15, I hiked (no loads) with no problems. I sit around with a desk job with no problems. Up and down stairs with no problems. Rode my bike around the 'hood with no problems.
I started hand drumming again and do feel something afterwards. It feels kind of like a hernia--a dull pain (but no bulging). Actually, drumming was the worst I felt the hernia before surgery. Therefore, drumming may be more strenuous an activity than I realized. And, my hernia (before surgery) was never painful in a sharp way...more of a dull ache.
Now my game plan is to ease into stretching and more drumming. If the pain persist or gets worse, I will lay off and return to the doctor for evaluation.
Keep a close watch on the ridge and knot you are feeling.
When you are drumming are you using your leg also, the side the hernia was on?
It could be the muscles are knotting up on you, but as I mentioned before keep a careful watch on how you are feeling.
You might want to start writing down what makes the pain increase.
I'm glad you can hike and bike, it sounds as though things have gone fairly well for. I hope it continues...
No leg movement is involved with hand drumming. The legs are wraped around the drum and the arms do all the moving. However, the stomach/groin area must get tight with pressure/strain.
So far, probems only appear with drumming. Infact, before surgery, i noticed pain during a two hour drum circle (thats when i realized i had a hernia). Two days later i went on a two hour mountain bike ride with no pain. Sounds wierd huh?
Thanks for the comments. I see that over two hundred visits have made it to this information. Hopefully, its been useful in some way.
I will keep the updates coming. This ain't over yet...
construction worker 58yrs young, just had surgery 6/1/11. I have that small ridge,no discomfort or pain.I've always been fit. When in your opinion may I resume normal activities,such as gym, swim, jog.
Very similar to my hernia story! I play lead guitar and sing in a cover band, and for a long time those were the only 4 hours I'd be in pain! I was and still am very active, walking 5 miles a day, doing 50 flights of stairs daily, even using one of those roller wheels in pushups, none of which bothered me at all. But by the second set of a gig, I was always in lots of pain, especially while singing . That must be more taxing to the herniated area than anything. Glad to know I'm not crazy!
I know you are keeping a close watch of your discomfort it might help to write down what makes the pain worse.
Have you checked out the sticky at the top of the hernia forum? If not there are a few links I have put in there (through the administrator). Check out the FDA one when you have time.If you have questions let me know.
I keep saying this, I don't want to see anymore people suffer the way I am and many others.
BTW..When I asked about the drumming I wasn't sure if you used your leg as I know some drummers do..kind of a dumb question looking back at it.
You might be having what is known as myofacial pain/discomfort.
If you feel you are not getting better see your doctor and file an adverse event report with the FDA, your personal information is not published on their site, they remove that but keep it for their records in the event there is another recall on meshes.
Keep the posts coming, the more people get informed about the mesh outcome the better it will be for everyone.
I did not do any stretching following my last post.
A few sites on the internet say postoperative discomfort may last several months after any surgery. Postoperative hernia-area pain is called Inguinodynia.
I went to the general surgeon on May 6, 2008 (about 11-12 weeks after surgery).
I described my pain as follows:
First, I explain that drumming caused a dull ache to appear. Dull ache type of pain-- similar to the dull ache I felt when I had a hernia. When I sneeze, I feel a sharper type of pain at the medial end of the scar-- similar to (but nowhere near as intense) the way it feels right after surgery when you laugh (or something) and it hurts. If I press on the incision-area when sneezing the pain is reduced significantly (almost none). I told him there was a time, before I started drumming again, when I did not feel pain from sneezing.
The doctor did the following:
Pressed around the region of the surgical incision. No pain is felt with pressing. He poked his finger up my groin area and asked me to turn my head a cough (several times). Again, no pain is felt.
The conclusions of the visit:
1. Not a reoccurring hernia. My interpretation: No obvious hernia.
2. The pain I describe does not sound like nerve entrapment.
3. Does not think the sutures came loose. It extremely rare for that to happen.
4. I asked if the mesh could have come loose. He said no.
5. The way I sit when drumming puts strain on the ____. Maybe have some inflammation there.
6. He said he is not sure what he can do about it.
a. Nerve blockers are temporary
b. Cutting nerves leaves the area numb
The Doctorâs advise:
Stretch and Ibuprofen Make appointment in three months if it gets worse or I cannot live the life I want.
This gets me upset to hear what your doctor is advising. Many surgeons are not taking this pain seriously.
I recently found out a friend who had surgery for another mesh related operation has sutures and tacks near or in the nerves. Similiar to what I have but I also have hardening mesh.
Did he offer to do a scan CT or MRI this can help give a bit more information on the mesh, tacks or sutures?
I had an inguinal hernia repaired 8 weeks ago. It ended my life as I knew it - now I have hideous chronic pain, and difficulty working because lying flat is the only time I'm comfortable. Doctors will tell you this surgery is routine and free of complications, but that is completely untrue. Now the doctor who messed me up wants to ablate several nerves, which will probably just make things worse.
There is only a 0.2% (that is 2 in a thousand) chance of a hernia causing a serious problem. But chronic pain is an outcome of hernia surgery in, depending on which medical journal you read, between 5% and 54% of the time. Why did I trade a 0.2% risk for a 54% risk? Dumb, and I'm stuck with the consequences now.
I have the same issues as you. I don't know why I did mine when I only had slight pains before my surgery and now I have pain all the time. I've seen 2 other doctors and no one can help my, but one did suggest going to a pain clinic to get s hot.Now I'm think very hard about that and trying to find out more info before doing so.
I know exactly how you feel. For now try putting ice on the are for a little relief. It's not cure by any means but it's a temp help. It's possible the doctor the cut a nerve during the operation.
Feel free to pm if you'd like. This is a nightmare.
Have you filed an adverse event report with the FDA?
There's a sticky on the top of this forum regarding how to report problems.
What type of mesh did you have implanted in you?
All the information can be obtained from your surgeon or the hospital you had the operation done at. Tell them you need the type of mesh, name of the manufacturer of the mesh, lot number and product number.
Try to get all the medical records from the day of your operation.
Please pm if you need help with this.
My husband is 8 wks out of inguinal repair w/mesh (no idea the manufacturer). His job is very physically demanding (there is no light duty). He worked Mon and Tues, had to reast Wed, worked Thur and had to rest Fri. Sometime during the trying to return to work, he felt a bad burning sensation and has been experiencing pain ever since. A call to the doctor only led to advice to take the NSAIDS and rest. He's in bed now. Would it be better for him to stay up? If so, what can he do to help strengthen that area?
I was reading the posts, hoping to find an answer. I did not have an inguinal hernia repair, BUT I had a left inguinal excisional biopsy, where 2 large nodes were removed through a 2 inch incision. I was advised that this is basically the same procedure, without the mesh and such. I am 2 weeks healing, and was doing very well. I now notice this so called "healing ridge" and it looks like I have a 2inch x 1 inch egg underneath my incision. It is as hard as a rock and tender to the touch. I went to my surgeon last week and he said that he may have sutured a nerve(i am having significant pain in my hip and outer thigh), but he said my "egg" was normal. It has gotten a lot bigger recently, and I have to bend to walk and favor my opposite leg. I see him again on wednesday, but I know it will all be brushed aside. I'm glad there are people out there who are experiencing the same thing!