Post-op expectations for ventral hernia surgery:

  • Patients are encouraged to engage in light activity while at home after surgery.
  • Post-operative discomfort is usually mild to moderate.
  • Most patients are able to get back to their normal activities in a short period of time. These activities include showering, driving, walking up stairs, lifting and work.
  • Occasionally, patients develop a lump or some swelling in the area where their hernia had been. Frequently this is due to fluid collecting within the previous space of the hernia. Most often this will disappear on its own with time.
  • You should be seen in the office for follow-up 1-2 weeks after surgery. Please call and schedule an appointment.


  • Apply an ice pack over incision/dressings for 30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first 12-24 hours after surgery, as comfort dictates.
  • Remove dressings 24 hours after surgery, if present.
  • After dressing off, you may bathe, even if steri-strips present. Gently wash incisions with mild soap and water.
  • Do not apply ointment/antibacterial cream to incision.
  • Leave dressings off unless drainage noted coming from incision.
  • Use prescribed pain medication as directed.
  • Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil as directed on the bottle. AVOID aspirin products.
  • AVOID heavy lifting.
  • No sports or strenuous activity for at least 6 weeks.
  • No dietary restrictions, but try to avoid constipating foods as not to strain.
  • Stool softener (Colace, Dulcolax) recommended while using narcotic pain medications or until first bowel movement after surgery.

When to call the office:

  • Persistent fever over 101 F (39 C)
  • Bleeding
  • Increased abdominal swelling or pain
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Chills
  • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
  • Drainage from any incision
  • Redness surrounding any incision