Hernia treatment typically involves surgical intervention, and there are three primary approaches: open surgery, laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery, and robotic repair. The specific surgical method and your recovery process will be influenced by various factors, including the type of hernia you’re dealing with and the complexity of the procedure.
What is Hernia Surgery?
Hernia surgery is the prevailing method for treating hernias, a condition in which an organ protrudes through the muscle or tissue wall that normally confines it. Hernias often manifest in the abdomen or groin. During hernia surgery, the surgeon relocates the displaced organ and herniated tissue, fortifying the restraining wall through stitches or surgical mesh. This procedure is also referred to as herniorrhaphy.
Who Needs Hernia Repair Surgery?
Not all hernias demand immediate treatment, but the majority eventually do so due to their tendency to deteriorate over time. Hernias give rise to protrusions where internal tissue pushes through a tear or opening in a muscle or tissue wall. They can also trigger uncomfortable symptoms, such as pressure, discomfort, or pain. Depending on the hernia’s location, it may exert pressure on adjacent organs, potentially leading to complications.
For instance, in the case of males, a hernia can protrude beyond a muscle wall and into the scrotum, resulting in swelling, discomfort, or sexual pain, among other issues.
Should a hernia produce symptoms or pose a risk of complications, surgical intervention may be necessary.
What are the Types of Hernia Repair Surgery?
The main types of hernia repair surgery are:
- Open (conventional) hernia repair surgery: In this approach, a surgeon makes a single incision to access the herniated tissue. They reposition the organs and tissue and employ surgical instruments to suture the tissue together, reinforcing its strength. Surgical mesh is often employed to further support the repaired area.
- Laparoscopic hernia repair surgery: This method, known as laparoscopy or “keyhole surgery,” involves the use of several small incisions, typically three or four, for the procedure. The surgeon introduces a slender tube with a tiny video camera (laparoscope) that transmits internal images to a screen. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions to address the hernia.
- Robotic hernia repair surgery: A variation of laparoscopy, this technique employs robotic surgical instruments for the operation. The surgeon operates from a console, controlling the technology used to repair the weakened tissue responsible for the hernia.
What Happens During Hernia Repair Surgery?
The specific procedure varies depending on the type of surgery required, whether it’s open, laparoscopic, or robotic. Generally, the process unfolds as follows:
- Pain Prevention: You will receive medications to alleviate pain. For laparoscopic surgery, you will likely undergo general anesthesia, which induces sleep. Open surgeries may necessitate local or regional anesthesia, rendering you awake but insensitive to the surgical site.
- Incisions: For open surgery, a single incision, typically several inches in length, is made, whereas laparoscopic surgery typically involves several small incisions, usually three or four, each around an inch in size.
- Repositioning and Repair: The surgeon will reposition the herniated tissue, mend the weakened surrounding tissue, and potentially suture healthy tissue together to create a robust barrier. Surgical mesh is often used to provide additional support and reduce the risk of hernia recurrence.
- Closure: The surgeon will close the incisions with sutures and dress your wounds.
What are the Benefits of Hernia Repair Surgery?
Hernia surgery is generally regarded as a safe procedure that effectively repairs hernias and reduces the risk of recurrence. Recent research indicates that only approximately 16% of individuals require additional surgery due to hernia recurrence within a decade following their initial procedure.
However, the likelihood of recurrence can vary based on the type of surgery and the hernia’s location. There may be a slightly elevated risk of hernia recurrence associated with laparoscopic surgery. Nonetheless, laparoscopic and robotic surgeries result in less scarring, reduced reliance on pain medications, and faster recovery compared to open surgery.
Your healthcare provider will discuss the advantages and potential surgical outcomes specific to your hernia and overall health.
Hernia Repair Surgery Northern Virginia
If you are suffering from a painful hernia, it may be time to consider hernia repair surgery. To learn more, please contact Maryland Bariatrics today to schedule a consultation.