If you have undergone hernia surgery within the past few days or weeks, you are no doubt hoping for a quick and successful recovery. That is why it can be worrisome if you find that you have a fever shortly after having had hernia surgery.
Since we were children, we have often been taught that a fever can quickly go from being something to not worry about to a “call the doctor”-type of emergency. Indeed, it is important to keep tabs on a fever, especially after surgery.
Anatomy of a Hernia
A hernia is a protrusion of the gut (or intestine) from inside the body through the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is made almost entirely of muscle. For some people, the abdominal wall can develop a weakness in one or more locations over time. If the weakness becomes pronounced enough, it can allow the intestine to bulge through the wall, becoming a hernia.
A hernia is usually visible to the naked eye as a bulge on the outside of the body. In fact, it is this visible quality of hernias that make them easy to diagnose.
How Hernia Surgery Works
Hernia surgery involves the patching of the weakness in the abdominal wall. The surgery starts with the doctor opening a small incision in the skin. The doctor then pushes the protruding parts (the gut) back into the body cavity. Finally, a mesh patch is applied over the opening to strengthen it and to prevent any recurrence of the hernia.
Chances for Infection
The quality and cleanliness of most medical facilities in developed countries today means that your hernia surgery was probably carried out in a sterile environment by a competent doctor. However, anytime you undergo surgery, you are exposing yourself to the potential for infection. Any open wound is necessarily exposed to bacteria and viruses which exist outside the body in the environment.
If you have had hernia surgery and are wondering, “Is it normal to have a fever after hernia surgery?”, it is important that you know what to look for and when you should be concerned.
When a Fever is Normal?
After hernia surgery, you will likely not be released from the hospital if you have a fever. But, it is not uncommon for a light fever to develop in the days or even a week or so after hernia surgery. As long as your fever comes on and then goes away within a couple of days without getting too high, you are fine.
When to Call Your Doctor
However, if your fever reaches over 101 degrees for more than a few hours, you should call your doctor. In that case, it is quite possible that you have an infection.
Other reasons to visit your doctor after hernia surgery include: unexplained leg pain (due to the possibility of blood clots), pus and drainage from your incision, very dark bowel movements (which may indicate blood in the stool), difficulty breathing and inability to eat.
What to Expect if You Have to Visit Your Doctor
If you do decide to visit the doctor due to a fever of 101 or higher, it is important not to let this worry you. Your doctor will likely inspect your wound to make sure it looks like it is healing properly. He or she will probably subscribe some antibiotics to treat a possible infection. However, if your fever is extremely high, you may be asked to check back into the hospital for a day or so in order for you to be properly observed until it goes away.