Hernia Repairs

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a hole in the strength lining of the belly wall. The abdominal wall has three general layers: skin, fat, and fascia. The layer closest to the abdominal organs is the fascia. A hernia is a hole in the fascia. People will often feel a bulge at the site of a hernia. This is the abdominal contents (bowel, fat, or other organ) pushing through that hole.

The most common places for people to have hernias are at the belly button (umbilical hernia), the groin (inguinal or femoral hernias), or at the site of prior operations (incisional hernias). There are a lot of other more rare types of hernias that people can get, but most are one of those three types.

What goes wrong with a Hernia?

The most common major complication of a hernia is bowel getting stuck. If the bowel gets stuck, it loses circulation to that part of the bowel and could die, resulting in the need for emergency surgery. This usually presents as a mass that can’t be pushed in along with nausea/vomiting and an inability to have a bowel movement. People will sometimes complain of pain associated with a hernia. Hernias in adults don’t go away, they stay the same size or get bigger with time.

What are the symptoms of a Hernia?

Patients will complain of a dull ache or sometimes a sharp pain. Most people will notice a bulge at the site of a hernia.

How does a hernia get repaired?

Hernias are fixed with surgery. They can be fixed with a minimally invasive or open approach. In a minimally invasive approach, small holes are made in the abdomen. A camera along with instruments are then placed and the hernia is fixed. In an open approach, an incision is made on top of the hernia and the hernia is closed from above.

Most, but not all hernias, are closed with a mesh to reinforce the hernia. These meshes have been used for decades and are considered very safe.

What are the complications of Hernia surgery?

Although hernia surgery is usually quite safe, there are a number of complications that patients could experience. You should check with your surgeon for the specific complications. Some examples include bleeding, infection, nerve damage, chronic groin pain, recurrent hernia, heart attack, stroke, and dying from surgery.

What is the recovery time for hernia surgery?

This largely depends on the patient and the type of surgery. You will be given a lifting restrictions for between two and six weeks depending on the type of surgery you have. Most people will be back to a majority of their normal activity within one or two weeks.