What Is Inguinal Hernia Repair Surgery?

Inguinal hernia - copyright ADAM (320x240)
Inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernia repair is surgery to repair a hernia in the abdominal wall of your groin. A hernia is tissue that bulges out of a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Your intestines may bulge out through this weakened area.

During hernia repair, this bulging tissue is pushed back in. Your abdominal wall is strengthened and supported with sutures (stitches), and sometimes mesh.

You will probably receive general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) or spinal anesthesia for this surgery. If your hernia is small, you may receive local anesthesia and medicine to relax you. You will be awake but pain-free.

Surgical Treatment

Open Surgery

Your surgeon will find the hernia and separate it from the tissues around it. Then your surgeon will remove the hernia sac or push the intestines back into your abdomen.

Your surgeon will close your weakened abdominal muscles with stitches. Often a piece of mesh is also sewn into place to strengthen your abdominal wall. This repairs the weakness in the wall of your abdomen.

Laparoscopic Approach

A laparoscope is a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end that allows your surgeon to see inside this area. Your surgeon will make three or four small cuts in your lower belly and insert the laparoscope and other small instruments through them.

The same repair will be done as the repair in open surgery.

The benefits of this surgery are a faster healing time, less pain, and less scarring. Laparoscopic surgery may not be recommended for larger or more complicated hernias, or for growing hernias on both sides.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Your doctor may suggest hernia repair surgery if you have pain or your hernia bothers you during your everyday activities. If your hernia is not causing you problems, you may not need surgery. However, these hernias most often do not go away on their own, and they may get larger.

Sometimes the intestines can be trapped inside. This can be life threatening. If it happens, you would need emergency surgery right away.

After the Procedure

Most patients are able to get out of bed an hour or so after this surgery. Most can go home the same day, but some may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

Some men may have problems passing urine after hernia surgery. If you have problems urinating, you may need a catheter (a flexible tube that will drain urine) in your bladder for a short time.

Reference

Malangoni MA, Rosen MJ. Hernias. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 46.

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