NON-SURGICAL OPTION

Hernias get worse over time, not better. That said, there are no acceptable non-surgical treatments for a hernia. The use of a truss (hernia belt) or abdominal binder can help keep the hernia from bulging, but eventually this will fail. Moreover, a truss or binder can promote the formation of scar tissue around the hernia, making the repair more difficult.

SURGICAL OPTIONS

LAPAROSCOPIC

(Minimally invasive) technique using a tension free repair

ADVANTAGES

  • More than one hernia can be repaired at the same time (umbilical, incisional and a groin hernia)
  • Same day surgery
  • Incisions are smaller
  • There is less pain
  • Motivated patients may return to work in 2-3 days
  • You may return to normal lifting within a couple of weeks with few limitations
  • Evaluation of the abdominal cavity can be performed to assess other potential causes of pain
  • Solid repair with a mesh used to bridge the defect. Tension free repair

DISADVANTAGES

  • Requires general anesthesia, cannot be done under local

CONVENTIONAL

(Open technique) using a tension free repair

ADVANTAGES

  • Can be done under local anesthesia
  • Same day surgery
  • Good repair using a mesh to bridge the defect. Tension free repair

DISADVANTAGES

  • More pain
  • Larger incision
  • No strenuous activity or heavy lifting for approximately 3 months
  • Generally, repair one hernia at a time, thereby prolonging your recovery

RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SURGERY

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to intra-abdominal contents
  • Testicular injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Blood clot to the lungs

(This is only a partial list of potential complications)


NOW WHAT?

The only way to repair a hernia is through surgery. The good news? Surgical techniques have come a long way since your (grand)father’s hernia repair. New procedures and materials offer options that can decrease discomfort and speed recovery, so you can get back to your health — and your life — faster than you might think.

STEP ONE:

Call us. We will diagnose your hernia: where it is, how big it is, and how soon you should have it repaired. And the more you know about surgical repair techniques, the better prepared you’ll be to have an informed discussion — and make an informed decision — with your doctor.

PRE-OPERATIVE PREPARATION

May include blood work, urinalysis, abdominal x-rays, and an abdominal CT scan.

AVERAGE HOSPITAL STAY

Most hernia repairs are performed on an outpatient basis (patients go home the same day). Larger hernias or patients with associated medical conditions may require a hospital stay.

ANESTHESIA

Laparoscopic surgery requires general anesthesia which blocks pain and keeps you asleep throughout the entire surgery.

RECOVERY

Your recovery period after laparoscopic surgery is relatively short when compared to conventional open surgery. Most patients go home the same day and return to work as early as 2-3 days (average 7-10 days). You will be given pain medication along with a laxative to prevent constipation.

If you suspect you have a hernia, consult with your primary care physician promptly. Hernias tend to get bigger over time and do not resolve without treatment.

Delaying your hernia repair can result in intestinal incarceration (intestine is trapped inside the hernia sac) or strangulation (intestine is trapped and develops gangrene). The latter is a surgical emergency.

Under certain circumstances the hernia may be watched and followed closely by a physician. Consult your physician to determine if observation is the proper course of action.