After my wife's Whipple, the surgeons told her not to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. She diligently followed the instructions but she developed hernia anyway. My understanding is, hernias are very common after Whipple.
My wife's hernia is huge. She looks like she is a few months pregnant. She wears abdominal binder to support it. It's very uncomfortable to say the least. The good news is, it doesn't cause any pain.
Hernia repair surgery is a relatively simple surgery. Nothing compared to Whipple. The risks come afterwards. To repair hernia, they put a synthetic surgical mesh behind the abdominal muscle wall. This surgical mesh does NOT dissolve. It stays there permanently and may cause a number of potential problems.
In some patients, it causes chronic pain. I don't know what percentage of patients. I told my wife that, no matter how small the risk is, she should not take it. Uncomfortable hernia is tolerable; chronic pain and painkillers are not acceptable.
Another issue is, it's not uncommon for hernias to come back. If and when they come back, they can be a big mess. Much bigger mess than the original hernia. The body forms scar tissue around the surgical mesh. If hernia comes back, the surgeon can't simply take out the old mesh and put a new one. They have to deal with scars.
One more concern... surgical mesh is a foreign object in the body. Immune system reacts to it. I remember a post from a forum member who had enlarged lymph nodes after her hernia repair. The catch is, the enlarged lymph nodes can also be a sign of the cancer coming back. Her doctors couldn't figure out what it was by looking at the scans. She had to do a biopsy of the nodes to figure it out. I told my wife she doesn't need this extra stress.
Given all these risks, we decided to wait and see. If the hernia stays pain-free, there is no rush to do anything.
Please note, I'm not a doctor. This is not an expert opinion. I might be blowing these issues out of proportion. You have to discuss the risks with your wife's doctors.
Good luck making the right decision!