In the United States, over 5 million people suffer from a variety of hernias and an estimated 700,000 hernia repair operations are performed annually. Repairs are performed either by the conventional “open” method or a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) procedure. Laparoscopic hernia repair is a relatively new procedure that offers patients less postoperative pain, better cosmetic results and a quicker return to work and normal activities.
For any disease or medical complication, we do our best to keep the treatment minimal and safe. When talking about hernia repairs, let us first understand what a hernia is.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a weakness or defect in the abdominal wall that you were either born with or created due to over exertion (i.e. lifting, straining, coughing etc). As the hernia develops, you may notice an abnormal protrusion of abdominal contents (i.e. fat, intestines) through the weakness or defect. Similar to the inner tube pushing through a damaged tire, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area of the abdominal wall creating a bulge. This balloon like sac is called hernia. There are many causes of hernia, and can happen to men and women alike, at any age. Factors like strain to the abdomen, difficult bowel movements, urination, and age, can cause stress on the abdominal walls, and hence cause hernia. It can also be a heredity disorder. Hernia causes severe pain, leading to serious complications, if not treated. The basic treatment for hernia does not begin with medicines and drugs, only repair surgery can treat hernia.
Hernia, if not treated on time, causes further complications like intestinal incarceration and strangulation. Hernia grows without treatment, and the larger it grows, it creates more complications. Though, an exception of close monitoring can be made for those with serious surgical issues like bleeding, heart disease, lung disease, etc. In severe hernia cases, one cannot consider even these exceptions. An open surgery is one option for hernia repair; however, many doctors opt for a laparoscopic hernia repair.
Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery Procedure
This minimally invasive surgery uses a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a small-lighted scope that has a camera connected to it through a cannula. In this procedure, general anesthesia is given to the patient. A small incision is made in the abdomen near the navel or in the navel. The laparoscope is inserted through this incision. The abdomen is inflated so that the surgeon can properly view the internal parts of the abdomen. A harmless gas like carbon dioxide is used in inflation. A mesh is placed before the abdominal lining area that is weakened in the abdominal wall. Once securely placed before the hernia, it is stapled with surgical staples. The abdominal incisions are then closed with stitches.
Hernia Surgery Recovery
Within a few hours after you recover from the anesthesia and after gaining control on walking and moving around, you will be discharged from the hospital. With a successful surgery and no serious complications post surgery, the expected laparoscopic hernia recovery time is around 3 days. One can start with his daily routine in two to three days after the surgery.
Risk Factors for Minimally Invasive Surgery
Factors like obesity, and any previous abdominal surgery complications, will not allow the physician to suggest a minimally invasive surgery for hernia repair. Infections and bleeding, and scar tissue formation, are most common risks after the surgery. Injuries to the other organs like the urinary bladder, nerves, blood vessels, intestines, etc., may also happen. A possibility of hernia recurrence is one factor. Others like thigh numbness and pain can also be experienced.
This type of hernia repair is suggested in most hernia cases. However, your surgeon will be able to check and then decide if you can be operated upon with this procedure, as people with certain issues may require to take special precautions during and after the surgery. Post surgery, if the patient experiences high fever, bleeding, constant nausea, vomiting, inability to eat or drink, prolonged pain and breathlessness, the surgeon should be immediately informed to take further action.
Hernia is a serious issue and needs proper and careful treatment. Make sure you discuss all of the possibilities before you opt for any surgery.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Most doctors will insist on this type of surgery, as there are many factors that make this surgery relatively safe, than an open surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is comparatively safe, and is less painful and traumatic than open surgery.
The time taken for recovery is less with a laparoscopic procedure, allowing the patient to resume daily activities quickly.
There are two or three small incisions that are barely visible, as compared to one large incision that an open surgery demands.
The surgery gives an option to diagnose and also repair if there is any other hernia on the opposite side of the abdomen.
Low post surgery pain and low costs of the surgery are big advantages of minimally invasive surgery.
King’s Daughters Medical Specialties – 613 23rd St., Suite 420, Ashland, KY | (606) 324-2600 | kdmc.com