After undergoing hernia repair surgery, the body needs time to rest and heal. Whether you undergo open surgery or a laparoscopic hernia repair, it is important to focus on your recovery if you want to experience best results.
During your recovery, there are gentle exercises you can do to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about strengthening your muscles after surgery.
Understanding the different hernia repair surgery methods
The surgery repair method used will determine what type of recovery you can expect. With open surgery, an incision will be made within the groin. The hernia is then identified, and it will be pushed back into the abdomen before the abdominal wall is strengthened with mesh or stitches. You will typically need to wait for 4-6 weeks before you can return to strenuous exercise.
With laparoscopic surgery, a small incision will be made at the belly button. A laparoscope which is connected to a small camera, will then be inserted. A harmless gas will be used to inflate the abdomen, giving the surgeon space to clearly see your internal structure. The inner lining of the abdomen will be cut to reveal the weakness in the wall. Mesh is placed on the inner wall to cover up the weakness and strengthen the tissues. Unlike open surgery, the recovery period here will be days, rather than weeks.
Can hernia type impact recovery?
The type of hernia you are repairing can impact recovery time. For example, incisional hernias can take longer to repair, which would increase the time you need to wait before you can return to normal activities.
You can discuss how long the recovery is likely to take, based upon the type of hernia you have, with the surgeon. They will provide full aftercare advice, letting you know when you can return to normal activities.
Whichever type of hernia you have, and which surgery method is used to repair it, you will be advised to avoid strenuous activities for up to six weeks.
Gentle exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles after surgery
If you want to speed up your recovery, there are some gentle exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles. Before trying any of the exercises mentioned, it is important to discuss them with the surgeon. They will be able to tell you whether the exercises are safe.
The sit-to-stand exercise is a good one to get started with. Simply sit down on the edge of a chair, activating the core muscles. Then, lean forwards so your torso is over your legs, keeping the weight onto the feet. Extend your legs to stand up fully. You can repeat this simple exercise several times throughout the day.
Pelvic floor exercises, seated knee extensions and forward lunges are also good exercises to try. Remember, start off slowly and don’t push yourself. Listen to your body, and your surgeon, in order to build up your abdominal muscle strength safely.