Are you or a loved one scheduled for hernia surgery? It can be an intimidating prospect, but don’t worry – it’s among the most common surgical procedures done around the world. Hernias are a common medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. When a weakness or tear occurs in the muscles or tissues that hold organs in place, it can lead to the protrusion of an organ or fatty tissue through the opening, resulting in a hernia. While some hernias can be managed with conservative measures, others may require surgical intervention to repair the defect and alleviate symptoms.
Hernia surgery is a medical procedure designed to correct hernias by strengthening the weakened muscles or tissues and restoring them to their original position. This blog post aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of hernia surgery, including its purpose, types, and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
Introduction To Hernia Types
There are two main types of hernia surgery: open hernia surgery and laparoscopic hernia surgery.
- Open hernia repair entails making a single lengthy incision, either in the groin or navel area, allowing the surgeon to observe and mend the hernia.
- Laparoscopic hernia surgery involves the surgeon making several tiny incisions in the abdomen and putting in a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera, through one of them. This gives the doctor a view of what’s internally, therefore enabling them to repair the hernia without needing to make an extensive cut.
Due to the smaller incisions, laparoscopic hernia surgery can offer a more rapid recovery with less pain compared to open hernia surgery.
Most individuals with laparoscopic hernia repair can return to their typical lifestyles within a matter of days. Those who opt for open hernia operation may need to dedicate several weeks before they are fully recovered. Laparoscopic hernia surgery results in less scarring due to the smaller incisions involved compared to open hernia surgery. If you suffer from a hernia, discuss with your doctor what the most suitable therapy is for your case.
What is Hernia Surgery?
A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue pushes through a weakening in the nearby muscle or connective tissue. To repair it, surgery is needed to mend the weakened area and seal off the opening that was allowing the protrusion.
Hernia surgery typically does not require a hospital stay as it is usually done on an outpatient basis. It’s generally a quick procedure, taking no longer than an hour, and most individuals are able to go home the same day.
A local anesthetic is used to numb the surrounding area of the hernia. The surgeon then makes a cut in the skin over the hernia and repositions any extruding organ or tissue. Once this is complete, sutures are used to close up the opening in the connective tissue or muscle. If further reinforcement is deemed necessary, a mesh patch may also be applied.
Types of Hernia Surgeries
Hernia operations come in four primary forms: open, laparoscopic, robotic, and endoscopic.
Open surgery is a common hernia repair method in which the surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen to reach and reposition the hernia. The opening is then secured with sutures or a mesh patch.
Laparoscopic surgery is much less invasive than open surgery due to its minimal use of small incisions. Using a laparoscope, a camera inserted into one of the cuts, the surgeon is able to view the abdominal cavity and guide them in repairing the hernia. Afterwards, this tool is removed and the incisions are sealed with stitches or surgical mesh.
Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery, only with the use of a robot which controls the surgical instruments. By comparison to open surgery, it is less invasive and gives your surgeon a more favorable outlook inside your abdominal cavity.
Endoscopic Surgery: This procedure is the least invasive type of hernia surgery. A small incision is made in the abdomen, through which a blend of a long thin tube with a camera on one end (endoscope) is inserted.
Preparing for Hernia Surgery
If you’ve been told that you have a hernia, your doctor may suggest an operation to repair the hole in your abdominal wall. Here is what to anticipate prior to, during, and following the surgical procedure. Before going in for the operation, your doctor will speak with you about the surgery and what type of anesthesia is available. Additionally, you will need to sign a consent document.
The surgery involves an incision in the abdomen, with a piece of mesh inserted for reinforcement. In some cases, any protruding tissue may require removal. Once the surgery is complete, you will be taken to a recovery area where your condition can be monitored for any postoperative complications.
What to Expect During and After Hernia Surgery
When you have hernia surgery, you will be administered anesthesia to remain comfortable during the operation. The surgeon will create an incision in your groin and guide the hernia back into its original position. A mesh patch is then placed over the opening in your abdominal wall to secure it. Generally, this procedure takes less than an hour.
Following the surgery, you’ll be transported to a recovery area where your vital signs will be monitored for any adverse reactions. When conscious and stable, you can return home. Though it is normal to experience pain near the surgical site, your doctor can provide medications to help alleviate discomfort. They will also provide directions on how to best take care of the incision and when to book in for subsequent check-ups.
Benefits and Risks Associated with Hernia Surgery
Hernia surgery has been proven to be a successful way to reduce pain, increase functioning, and ward off potential issues. Nonetheless, as is the case with any surgery, there are certain risks that need to be considered.
Here are some of the benefits of hernia surgery:
- Reduce your discomfort: Hernias can cause pain, especially when you put strain on your body like coughing, lifting or straining. Taking the step to have surgery can help alleviate that pain and improve how you experience life.
- Hernias can make carrying out everyday tasks challenging. Through surgery, you will be able to regain your prior level of functioning and return to your regular activities.
- To avoid potential problems, it is important to have a hernia repaired; otherwise, it can get bigger and more uncomfortable. Rarely, the tissue may become tightly trapped and cut off from its blood supply – this is known as strangulation and requires immediate medical attention as it can be fatal if left untreated.
Here are some of the risks associated with hernia surgery:
- Infection is a risk with any surgery, though its likelihood is low. Should it arise however, antibiotic treatment or extra surgery may be needed.
- Bleeding is a risk associated with surgery, albeit a rare one. However, if it does occur, steps may be necessary to cease the hemorrhaging.
- Hernia surgery carries the rare risk of nerve damage, which could lead to sensations of numbness, tingling or weakness in the vicinity of the incision.
- The risk of hernia surgery resulting in a reoccurrence is relatively low, however it is more likely for certain types, such as inguinal hernias.
If you are evaluating whether hernia surgery is the correct treatment option for you, it is important to converse with your doctor about the potential risks and advantages. Your physician can assist you with making a decision.
Hernia surgery is a relatively common procedure to repair hernias and alleviate the associated symptoms. Being aware of what to expect before, during, and after the procedure can help to reduce anxieties. It is essential to go through the pre-op evaluation process and understand which type of hernia needs repair. Though it might take time to recover, most patients find that they enjoy an overall improved quality of life and are free from their symptoms following the surgery.
1. What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue extends through the wall of the cavity that holds it, creating a protrusion.
2. What are the different types of hernias?
The four main types of hernias are inguinal, hiatal, incisional, and umbilical. Inguinal hernias are the most frequently seen type; hiatal hernias come second in frequency. Incisional and umbilical hernias are not as common but can be quite intricate.
3. What causes a hernia?
Most often, a hernia results from a combination of muscle weakness and strain. This could be caused by being pregnant, overweight or having obesity, repeatedly lifting heavy objects, or chronic coughing or sneezing. Other medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease, may also bring about the occurrence of a hernia.
4. How is a hernia diagnosed?
Your doctor will probably query you about your symptoms and give you a physical exam. Imaging tests may be requested, including X-rays or CT scans to ascertain the diagnosis. In some cases, an ultrasound or MRI can be suggested.
5. How is a hernia treated?
The type, size, and whether it is causing any symptoms will help to determine the treatment for a hernia. Your doctor may simply advise you on the best course of action if it is an uncomplicated, small hernia.