Hernia Repair

A hernia occurs when one part of the body protrudes through a gap or opening into another part of the body.
 
Hiatal hernia
A hiatal hernia forms at the opening in your diaphragm where your food pipe or esophagus joins your stomach. Part of the stomach pushes through this opening causing the hernia.
 
Surgery is considered only when medications and lifestyle changes fail to bring relief. In some people there are complications or the hernia is very large and causing problems. In these cases, surgery is recommended.
 
Inguinal hernias
Inguinal hernias occur when soft tissue, usually part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak point or tear in your lower abdominal wall. The resulting bulge can be painful.
 
Not necessarily dangerous in themselves, inguinal hernias can lead to life-threatening complications. For this reason, your doctor is likely to recommend surgical repair of an inguinal hernia that's painful or becoming larger. About 80% of hernia surgeries involve repair of an inguinal hernia. Most are performed as an outpatient procedure.

Inguinal hernia surgery
Here is a general overview, every case is different, so ask your surgeon for specifics of how your procedure will be performed.
  • Your abdominal area will be sterilized.
  • Surgical drapes will be placed around the site of the hernia.
  • Your surgeon will make an incision in the abdominal wall.
  •  The incision will be opened to expose the outer margins of the weakened muscle tissue.
  • With an indirect hernia, any weakened section of tissue is cut and removed.
  • Any protruding intestine or organ tissues is pushed back into the abdomen.
  • The hernia sac is closed using sutures or if a surgical mesh is used, it will be placed over the hernia opening and sutured into place. Leaving the mesh over the opening reduces tension on the incision. As you heal the mesh is incorporated into the new tissue. This procedure is called a hernioplasty.
  • Your surgeon will examine the area for any other trouble spots.
  • The under-layers of tissue will be sutured and the outer skin will be closed with surgical staples or some other method.
  • Your medical team will apply a sterile dressing over the wound.
 
Laparoscopic surgery
  • The surgeon makes three tiny incisions in the abdominal wall.
  • The surgical area is inflated with a gas. This allows the surgeon to insert the instruments and to see inside.
  • The laparoscope is inserted into one incision, while small surgical instruments are inserted in the other incisions. The laparoscope is a long thin tube with a camera attached on the end that allows your surgeon to view on a monitor the movement of the instruments.
  • Your surgeon pushes the abdominal tissue back into place.
  • The hernia is repaired using sutures or surgical staples.
Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Surgery
 
Recovery
Giving your repaired tissues ample time to heal after hernia surgery is an essential part of your treatment.
  • You can expect to be sore for the first day or two after your surgery.
  • Your surgeon and the staff will give you instructions for your recovery period. Be sure to follow them carefully.
  • Your surgeon will likely want you to be up and about the day after surgery, but you will be instructed to be very careful about lifting things or any strenuous activity.
  • With laparoscopic hernia repair, you may be able to get back to your normal activities  such as showering, driving, lifting and working within a shortamount of time.
  • You will be asked to make a follow up visit to your surgeon in the weeks after the surgery.

 

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