Nowadays, the majority of hernia surgical operations are carried out as outpatient procedures. Hernia surgery is a common treatment which is less invasive and is associated with minimal risks. There are two types of hernia surgery; open repair and laparoscopic. Both methods of surgery take a few days to recover. A patient who has undergone the procedure can resume normal activities within a couple of weeks.
A hernia comes to being after the interior abdominal layer pushes through the weak walls of the abdomen, creating a bulge which continues to grow day by day. If the bulge isn’t treated on time, the patient may end up feeling pain and discomfort in the abdomen which is associated with vomiting, nausea, and constipation. As a result, other more serious issues may arise.
The patient and the surgery expert will determine the best hernia surgery method to use since no one fits both. Each hernia surgical operation method is customized for the specific patient.
Types of Surgical Operations
Open repair surgery involves making an incision and pushing the hernia into the walls of the muscle. The surgeon then uses synthetic mesh or stitches to reinforce the wall. Open repair requires a larger incision than laparoscopic and causes post-surgical discomfort and pain. Fortunately, these symptoms can be relieved by taking medications. Therefore, a patient who has received open repair may need more time to recover than the one who has undergone laparoscopic. Open repair is mainly suitable for active patients, since it leads to strengthened walls of the abdomen. The operation brings together the muscles and makes the walls of the abdomen more functional.
During laparoscopic surgery, a device that looks like a telescope (laparoscope) is inserted through a couple of small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon inflates the abdomen with carbon dioxide and strengthens the weakened area by attaching a mesh patch. The surgery leads to minimal scars which become almost invisible after a few months. The patient takes a very short time to recover and at times, they can even recover within 12 hours. Most patients who want to recover fast and have minimal scars after surgery prefer laparoscopic to open repair. Body muscles are normally tight and strong so that they can keep the organs and intestines in their appropriate position and place. However, weak spots in the muscles can trigger hernia development.
An inguinal is the most prominent hernia type. It can manifest like a swelling in the groin. A patient with a hernia may feel pain in the swollen area. The lump usually becomes noticeable when the patient is lifting weight or lying down.
Causes of Inguinal Hernia
An inguinal hernia normally develops when some part of the intestines or fatty tissue push through towards the groin in the upper part of the thigh. Inguinal hernias are more observed in men as compared to women. The majority of cases of inguinal hernias are believed to be caused by aging, since older people have weaker abdominal muscles than younger folks.
At times, Inguinal hernias can be seen abruptly after exerting pressure on the abdomen. For instance, while straining to empty the bowel while having constipation as well as carrying or pushing heavy objects. A patient suffering from this condition may also experience a heavy cough.
When Is Surgery Required?
Surgery can be used to repair inguinal hernias by pushing the protrusion back into place and making the abdominal walls strong. The surgical operation is normally prescribed if the hernia causes severe pain or unending symptoms, or in case severe complications arise.
Some of the complications that can occur due to inguinal hernia are:
- Obstruction – some part of the intestines can stick in the angina canal, leading to nausea, vomiting, painful stomach, and groin swelling.
- Strangulation – this may occur when a part of the intestine is trapped, and its blood supply is hindered. The emergency surgical operation is needed to free the trapped tissue and normalize its blood supply.
Surgery eliminates a hernia to avoid any severe complication. However, hernia can possibly reoccur after the surgery.
The following methods can be applied in the repairing of an inguinal hernia:
- Open surgery – the surgeon makes one incision and pushes the bulge back into its normal position in the abdomen.
- Laparoscopic surgery – this method is less invasive but a bit more complicated. The surgeon makes several small incisions to enable him/her to repair the hernia using a variety of special devices.
Both methods have pros and cons, and the choice of any of them depends on their suitability for the patient as well as the experience of the surgeon.
After surgery, a patient can be discharged from the hospital and released to go home a few hours or a day later. You should follow the instructions given to you by the hospital regarding self-care. Some of the things you can be asked to do are to eat a well-balanced diet to prevent constipation, take care of the wound, and avoid strenuous activities for a few days.
The majority of patients recover fully from the repair of inguinal hernia in a span of 6 weeks. Nevertheless, many people can resume light activities. such as driving, within 14 days. You should keep in mind that a few lifestyle changes as recommended by your doctor will help speed up the healing process.
Risks Associated with the Operation
The repair of an inguinal hernia is a common operation which is associated with extremely few risks. Nevertheless, there are minimal chances (10%) that a hernia can reoccur at some point after the operation. Approximately 2-4% of hernia cases occur again within three years.
Other complications that can arise following inguinal hernia repair are:
- Accumulation of blood or fluid in the area previously occupied by a hernia.
- The testicles or penis base may become painful, bruised, and distended.
- Numb or painful groin region pain.
- Obstructed testicle’s blood supply.
- Damaged vas deferens.
People aged more than 50 years, smokers, and those suffering from illnesses like breathing problems and heart disease are highly vulnerable to the above complications.
Adults experiencing the following situations may require inguinal hernia repair surgery:
- Emergency surgeries may be required if an adult has a hernia with the loop of intestine and lacks a supply of blood.
- Hernias with a trapped loop of bowel require urgent repair to prevent strangulation. Surgery may be planned at the most convenient time if there are no chances of strangulation development.
- Healthy adults, who have hernias, may have a repair of the condition in their convenient time if the hernias can be pushed into their normal positions in the abdomen and aren’t leading to pain or discomfort.
Some people may not be hernia surgery candidates or may opt not to have the operation. Some of these individuals include:
- People suffering from chronic illnesses and whose hernias aren’t strangulated or incarcerated.
- People suffering from cirrhosis usually have ascites that leads to increased pressure on the abdomen. This high pressure makes a hernia develop again after its repair. Some surgeons may not prescribe hernia surgery to people with cirrhosis.
- Males experiencing difficulty while passing urine due to distended prostrate must seek help to get the problem treated prior to undergoing hernia repair surgery.