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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to questions about hernias, symptoms, recovery and more.

Expectations After Surgery

When you return home after surgery, follow your doctor's instructions regarding when you can return to your normal daily activities. The amount of pain and/or discomfort you experience depends on the location of the hernia, the type of repair, and your personal pain tolerance level. Generally, walking is difficult for the first few hours after surgery, and climbing stairs may be difficult for a day or two. You should be able to drive your car within a few days after surgery.


Depending on your occupation, full recovery from hernia surgery may take anywhere from one to six weeks. How soon you can return to work depends on the kind of work you do. If you have a very strenuous job or one that requires heavy lifting, it may be several weeks before you can get back to work. On the other hand, if you have a desk job, you may be back to work in as little as three days. Ask your doctor for advice on when to return to work and resume your normal daily activities.

Moderate exercise, such as walking, is recommended and helps to improve your circulation and speed the healing process. However, patients should avoid putting a strain on their bodies, such as heavy lifting and strenuous exercise, for six to eight weeks after the surgery. Lifting should especially be avoided, as this may disrupt the hernia repair. However, if it is absolutely necessary, lift only manageable objects, and use your legs to carry the weight, not your back. Patients who play sports may not be able to play for several weeks, as an impact to the repair could disrupt it. Ask your surgeon to advise you about when you can participate in heavy lifting, jogging, or strenuous exercise.