How are Hernias Surgically Repaired?
Hernias usually need to be surgically repaired to prevent intestinal damage and further complications. The surgery takes about an hour and is usually performed on an outpatient basis (which means the patient can go home the same day of the procedure). This surgery may be performed by an open repair (small incision over the herniated area) or by laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive). Your surgeon will determine the best method of repair for your individual situation.
Outpatient Hernia Repair Surgery
- An Anesthesiologist (a physician who specializes in pain relief) will recommend a type of anesthesia according to your condition and health status. You will not feel pain during the surgery.
- A small incision or cut is made in the skin.
- The hernia "sac" containing the bulging intestine is identified.
- The surgeon pushes the intestine inside the hernia sac back into its proper position behind the muscle wall.
- The muscle wall is reinforced with stitches or usually synthetic mesh to complete the repair.
Most patients will be able to go home a few hours after surgery. If needed, a 23 - hour extended recovery area is available. Typically, most patients feel fine within a few days after the surgery and resume normal eating habits and activities. Strenuous activity and exercise are restricted for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Minimally Invasive Surgery | Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopic surgery uses a thin, telescope - like instrument (known as an endoscope) that is inserted through a small incision at the umbilicus (belly button). Usually, this procedure is performed under general anesthesia. This requires an evaluation of your general state of health, including a history and physical exam, possibly including lab work and EKG. The endoscope is connected to a tiny video camera - smaller than a dime - that projects an "inside view" of the patient's body onto television screens in the operating room. The abdomen is inflated with a harmless gas (carbon dioxide) to allow your surgeon to view your internal structures.
The defect in the abdominal wall or in the groin is visualized and covered with a synthetic patch that is then secured into position with sutures or tacks.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
- Very small scars rather than one larger incision
- Reduced postoperative pain
- Faster return to work
- Shorter recovery time and earlier resumption of daily activities (a recovery time of days instead of weeks)