Hernias can be complex. Learning more doesn’t have to be.

What to Expect After Hernia Surgery

The road to recovery typically begins right away after surgery. Depending on the complexity of your procedure, you may be sent home a few hours or longer after surgery. One common question patients have for when they get home is:

"How soon can I engage in my typical physical activity after surgery?"

Taking the necessary precautions after hernia surgery can assist in a full and successful recovery to get you back to the activities you love. Each patient will have a different post-operative recovery and activity level. Talk to your doctor about the activities you can do, and those you should avoid, after hernia surgery.

To learn more, review the Do's and Don'ts below of post hernia surgery activities.

Typical Do's and Don'ts After Hernia Repair1,2,3

Always talk to your doctor about what activities you can do, and those you should avoid, after hernia surgery. Below are some typical instructions your doctor may provide after a hernia repair surgery.


  • Do follow all instructions provided by your doctor
  • Do stay well hydrated
  • Do try to stay active and take short walks without over-exerting yourself
  • Do take medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Do avoid constipation by taking stool softeners, if prescribed by your doctor
  • Do get enough rest to assist in recovery, as you will likely become tired more easily after surgery
  • Do wear loose, comfortable clothes that do not rub your incision
  • Do be sure to care for the incision as described by your doctor

Do Not:

  • Do NOT lift heavy items – following specific recommendations from doctor regarding weight restrictions and their duration 
  • Do NOT submerge your incision in water such as a bath, swimming pool, or hot tub until your  doctor gives permission
  • Do NOT engage in strenuous exercise until your doctor tells you it is okay
  • Do NOT drive until your doctor says it is okay


Always call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.


Seek emergency assistance immediately if you experience shortness of breath, fever, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, an incision that looks infected, feelings of numbness in your limbs, an increase in pain, or other concerning symptoms.

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