Question :

Lifting Restrictions after Umbilical Hernia Repair

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I am scheduled to have surgery on a hernia located slightly above my belly button. (It is going to be an open hernia repair and a mesh will be used.) I am a paramedic, and I am scheduled to return to work after 6 weeks. However, before I can work on an ambulance again I am required to pass a 150 pound lift test. I will have to carry a 150 weight up 10 stairs and then back down. Will lifting and carrying this much weight after 6 weeks cause my hernia repair to tear or reoccur? Will I ever be able to lift this much weight again? (FYI - I am 5'7 and weight 120 pounds)


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
Six weeks is sufficient time to recover form umbilical hernia surgery. You should be able to return to work. However, because of the nature of your work and the need for repetitive heavy lifting you are at risk for a recurrence of hernia or even developing a hernia at another location on the abdominal wall.


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