How is the hernia repaired?
The principle of Hernia Repair is to reduce the contents back into the abdominal cavity and close the muscle. There are various techniques for closing the muscle and your surgeon will discuss the options and make recommendations in your instance. In general; small defects can be closed with a simple stitch technique, whereas larger defects are best dealt with by placing an artificial mesh over the hole, with the advantage that a large area is covered, and there is no tension on the repair that would encourage stitches to pull through and lead to a recurrence.
Can a Hernia be repaired with laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery?
Yes, this is the most common method of Hernia Repair, although it is not suitable for everyone. The advantage of laparoscopic repair is that there is less pain and therefore a quicker return to normal and sporting activities.
post operative care
Following Hernia Repair, post operative care is different for each person. Most patients stay one night in hospital, although many elect to go home on the same day. Sutures are dissolving and buried, waterproof dressings can stay on for 7 days.
A follow-up appointment is made for 3-4 weeks after surgery. You may eat and drink normally, and walk around straight away. Heavy lifting and vigorous sports should be avoided for 6 weeks after the surgery.
What are the potential complications of Hernia Surgery?
Serious complications after Hernia Surgery are rare. Complications can include, but are not limited to, the following:
No matter what method of repair is used there is a small lifetime risk of the Hernia recurring. Unfortunately no repair is as good as the original. Redo surgery is usually advised.
Applies particularly for open inguinal Hernia repair. May occur as numbness near the scrotum, or a chronic pain (rare) running down the thigh.
Injury to the testicular artery
The artery supplying the testicle runs with inguinal Hernias and is rarely injured during the repair. It would tend to present as a swollen painful testicle that would gradually shrink to less than its normal size. It would not usually require further surgery.
Other potential complications may include wound infection, clots, allergic reactions or heart troubles.
Hernia Surgery FAQs
Will I be able to go to the gym / lift heavy objects again?
Yes, while there will always be a risk of another hernia, the risks are small after a mesh Hernia Repair. Dr Joseph will inform you when you are ready to go back to these activities (usually at least 6 weeks after surgery).
What should I do if the Hernia strangulates before surgery can be scheduled?
If the Hernia suddenly becomes swollen and painful or has a red appearance then you should lie down and try to gently push it back. If this works you should contact Dr Joseph as soon as possible. If this does not work within half an hour then you should go immediately to hospital.
Does the mesh stay in permanently?
Yes. In general the mesh is made of a polypropylene material that blend with your muscle by promoting scar tissue. It reinforces your muscle and is intentionally not dissolvable. It is very rare for the mesh to need to be removed, but if it were to get infected it should be removed with another operation.
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