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Hernia repair (inguinal/incisional/ umbilical/femoral)


At Mater Health Services we understand that being in hospital can be a very stressful experience. This booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs. It explains briefly the events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse. Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated members of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

Hernia Repair

Hernia repair is a surgical procedure correcting an opening or weakness in a muscle wall where tissue has bulged through.

Expected length of hospital stay

The day following your surgery you will be transferred anytime from 7am to the Transit Lounge then discharged at the pre-arranged time.

After your operation

  • You will stay in the recovery room within the theatre suite after the operation while you waken from the anaesthetic. You will be transferred on your bed to your room in the Day Procedure Unit.
  • Your nurse will take frequent observations of your vital signs (e.g. pulse) and dressings for several hours after the surgery. These will become less frequent as you recover but remain regular until you leave hospital.
  • You will be resting in bed immediately after your surgery.


The following exercises help prevent complications suchas chest infections and blood clots in your legs. You should do these every hour that you are awake while resting in bed.

Breathing exercises: take five long and slow deep breaths. Each breath should be deeper than the previous breath. Think about getting the air to the very bottom of your lungs.

Circulation exercises: firmly move your ankles up and down to stretch and contract your calf muscles.

  • When you are ready to get out of bed for the first time following your surgery it is important that you have assistance.
  • About four hours after you return to the ward, your nurse will assist you to have a wash.
  • You may have small amounts of water or ice to suck, then progress from fluids to a normal diet as tolerated.
  • If you have pain or nausea, please tell your nurse as there are medications which can be given to relieve this. It is important to be comfortable.
  • The drip (IV) is necessary to maintain your fluid intake. This will be removed when you are tolerating adequate amounts of oral fluids.

In preparation of going home

  • Your nurse will discuss your follow-up appointment and any discharge arrangements that have been made with you.
  • Discharge information will be given to you and your nurse will discuss this with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
  • A full assessment will be made prior to transferring you to the Transit Lounge in preparation for discharge to ascertain your condition is safe for you to go home.
  • You will be transferred to the Transit Lounge anytime from 7am on the morning following your surgery. This is where you will wait for your transportation home. Those picking you up will find the Transit Lounge:
    • on level 4 Mater Hospital Brisbane
    • just inside the ambulance entrance
    • opposite the waiting area for the Emergency Department.
  • It is still recommended to perform deep breathing, coughing and leg exercises while you are resting in bed.
  • You will recommence your normal medications.
  • Please tell the nursing staff if you have any pain so that they may give you medication to help relieve it.
  • Once the dressing on your wound has been removed, you can then wash your wound in the shower each day and pat it dry with a towel.
  • You will continue to wear the TED stockings until you are fully mobile then they can be discarded.

Discharge advice following hernia repair

What to expect

  • You will have some discomfort in your wound. This will be worse on coughing, sneezing or even on going to the toilet. This settles over three weeks. Pain relief tablets such as Panadol / Panadeine should relieve any discomfort you may have. Continue to take these as required, however do not take any more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.
  • Most patients experience tiredness for some weeks, especially after slight exertion—this is quite normal and will improve with time.
  • You may notice swelling and some bruising around the wound. This is also quite normal and settles with time. This occurs especially if you have had a femoral or inguinal hernia repair. Wearing firm underwear will help to reduce this.
  • Your doctor will advise when the spales/sutures will be removed.

What you can do

  • eat a normal diet
  • walk as tolerated; gradually increase the frequency and duration
  • light activities within pain boundaries
  • shower with your wound uncovered and pat dry.

What to avoid

  • strenuous exercise—gradually increase your activity
  • lifting heavy objects—wait four to six weeks or longer if your doctor advises
  • driving—until advised by your doctor (usually after two weeks)
  • constipation—drink six to eight glasses of water per day and eat a high fibre diet.


Please contact either your General Practitioner (GP); the Mater Hospital Brisbane Procedure Unit on 07 3163 8496; or the Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department on telephone 07 3163 8111, IMMEDIATELY if you experience any of the following after discharge:

  • the wound begins to throb or looks inflamed i.e. increased redness
  • the wound feels hot to touch or begins to discharge
  • you feel feverish
  • your pain is not relieved by simple analgesia e.g. Panadol/Panadeine—do not take any more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period
  • you experience nausea and vomiting which does not settle.

Mater Hospital Brisbane

Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane Q 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111

South Brisbane campus


Staff of Mater Hospital Brisbane, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Q 4101

© September 2004, reviewed September 2006 and August 2008, Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-460005
Last modified 25/9/2019.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 12/8/2015
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