If you are diagnosed with inguinal hernia, there are two ways it can be treated. Some are performed by conventional open procedure and others are performed using a small telescope called laparoscope. If your doctor recommends inguinal hernia surgery, this information might help you understand the treatment options.
An inguinal hernia is protrusion of tissues of issues that occur in the groin area. It is when the intestines from the abdomen bulge through the lower abdomen into the groin area. Hernias can be on both sides of the abdomen. A direct inguinal hernia is more common at later stages of life because the abdominal wall weakens with age.
Both men and women have natural weaknesses in the tissues of the inguinal canal, a passage from the inside of the abdomen to the scrotum in men and labia in women. This passage normally seals off during development. An indirect inguinal hernia occurs when the inguinal canal does not close completely. Over time, this opening enlarges and organs in the abdomen push into the canal. A direct inguinal hernia occurs when the weakness is in the floor of the inguinal canal rather than through its opening. Direct and indirect hernias cause similar symptoms and look nearly the same on physical examination. Lower in the groin, another area that can form a hernia is a femoral canal, which contains blood vessels that travel from the abdomen to the legs.
Open inguinal Hernia Surgery
In open inguinal hernia repair, a single long incision is made in the groin. If the hernia is bulging out of the abdominal wall (a direct hernia), the bulge is pushed back into place. If the hernia is going down the inguinal canal (indirect), it is either pushed back or tied off and removed.
The weak spot in the muscle wall is repaired by sewing the edges of healthy muscle tissue together. This is appropriate for smaller hernias that have been present since birth (indirect hernias) and for healthy tissues, where it is possible to use stitches without adding stress on the tissue. But the surgical approach varies depending on the surgeon’s preference and diagnosis.
- Open surgery requires one large incision instead of several small incisions.
- If hernias are on both sides, a second incision will be required to fix another hernia.
- Open inguinal hernia surgery can be done under general, spinal or local anesthesia.
It usually takes longer to recover after open surgery. No strenuous exercise and no lifting weight for a few months.
Risks involved in open hernia surgery are :
- Mesh and wound infection
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Seroma formation
- Urinary retention
- Testicular pain and swelling
- Bladder injury
- Bowel and vascular injury
- Injury to vas deferens
Some people develop chronic, long-lasting pain after surgery for a groin hernia. Even blood clots can develop because you are under anesthesia and don’t move for a long time.
Laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery
Patients who have laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair surgery are able to go home the same day. It is a daycare procedure.
- In laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair surgery, very small incisions are made instead of one large cut.
- If hernias are on both sides of the abdomen, both of them can be repaired at the same time without making any other incision. Laparoscopic surgery allows the surgeon to examine both the groin area and the site of the hernias. The mesh can be placed over all possible areas of weakness, preventing the hernia from recurring again.
- Laparoscopic hernia surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
After laparoscopic surgery when you go home
Once the surgery is done, you go home the same day, you can move around. Here is what you can expect:
When you wake up
You have small bandages or glue on your incisions. You can go to the washroom, drink liquids and eat light. You must not get excited about the food. Do not suddenly switch to high cholesterol or junk food. You will be able to drive, urinate, walk and carry some daily no-stress work. Get some help if needed to carry your daily routine.
The doctor may give you some pain relief medicines which should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. Do not over exert yourself immediately after surgery. Take some rest. Your incision may be sore for 2-3 days. They may be swollen, numb, painful or tender which is normal. If it causes discomfort, call the doctor and discuss the situation with them.
There are chances that you might get tired easily in the initial days, but you will notice improvement really soon if you stick to the diet chart and exercises given by the doctor.
There are some specifics :
- Showering: you may be able to take a shower after a day or two depending on the repair of your hernia.
- Walking: You must take walks as it will increase the blood circulation in the body which further helps you in speedy recovery.
- Eating: Follow the diet chart mentioned by the doctor. Drink liquids and high-fiber food. It helps you avoid constipation.
- Lifting: Do not lift heavy weights. Use your back and knees instead of putting pressure on your abdomen.
- Intercourse: Ask your doctor, when is it appropriate for you to resume your sexual activities.
- Work: People resume work the next day, but you must sit for long. Keep taking small breaks, walk around so that that it does not put pressure on your abdominal wall.
If you notice any discomfort or pain which is unbearable that consult your doctor immediately. The recurrence rate in the case of laparoscopic hernia surgery is negligible as compared to open. Do not ignore for long, get your hernia treated.