Reducing intra-abdominal pressure in patients with existing or recently treated hernias helps prevent complications. Increased abdominal pressure may complicate or exacerbate hernias, so patients are encouraged to use open-mouth sneezing techniques and avoid lifting or straining.
Patients should avoid heavy lifting and straining for 6-8 weeks following a hernia repair. Excessive strain or heavy lifting can increase the patient’s risk of developing another hernia.
If sneezing is unavoidable, instruct patients to sneeze with their mouths open to reduce intra-abdominal pressure. Additionally, patients recovering from a hernia repair should not participate in postoperative coughing. Instead, patients should be encouraged to deep breathe to prevent postoperative complications such as pneumonia.
Excision of a hernia, or herniotomy, involves surgical removal of the hernia sac. This procedure is common with hiatal hernias.
A herniorrhaphy is a surgical procedure to correct a hernia. Typically, it is done as an outpatient procedure. Be sure the patient has voided prior to discharge, as difficulty voiding following the procedure is common due to edema in the perineal area.
Another option for patients undergoing hernia repair is a hernioplasty. This procedure involves reinforcing the area of weakness with wire, fascia, or mesh.
Scrotal swelling and edema may develop after the repair of an inguinal hernia. To reduce discomfort, patients may use a scrotal support in addition to the intermittent application of an ice pack and other pain-relieving measures.
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