A hernia develops when there is a weakness or hole in the muscular wall (the peritoneum), which generally holds abdominal organs in place. This condition creates a protruding bulge in the area, as a hernia allows your organs and tissues to push through. Hernias can be found in the groin, stomach, and upper thigh areas. This condition is classified into five different types: inguinal, hiatal, femoral, umbilical, and incisional. Unfortunately, the only treatment necessary for a majority of hernias is surgery.
Hernias can be fixed through two different operations, listed below:
- Open Surgery: This is a traditional operation where an incision is made near the bulge, to repair the hernia.
- Laparoscopic surgery: An innovative surgery, known as a minimally invasive operation to fix your hernia, this is where two to four small incisions are made in your stomach, so that doctors can place an instrument and camera inside. An individual’s abdomen is inflated with gas to provide additional space for the surgeon to work in. Using technology and specialized instruments, the surgeons are able to repair hernias as the camera inside is connected to a television screen that they can view while performing the surgery. Additionally, the camera provides doctors with a peak from the inside. Once the surgery is done, the gas is removed, and an individual’s stomach is deflated; looking the same as it did prior to the surgery. This type of operation takes less recovery time.
While the above showcase two very different techniques, both operations perform the same function. The weak tissue within the muscular wall is repaired. A synthetic mesh is used to avoid the hernia from pushing through and returning. While an individual will work hand-in-hand with their doctor leading up to either of the above surgeries; the actually repair is a one day procedure. Doctors do keep patients in the hospital for several hours to monitor their body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, heart, and the surgical for bleeding or swelling; however, individuals are generally released shortly after. Post-surgery, patients are advised to avoid exercise and strenuous physical activities at home for about two weeks; and are prohibited from lifting heavy objects for eight weeks. These aren’t hard instructions to follow initially when patients get home, as they are rather exhausted from the surgery as it is.
At the end of the day, you can decrease risks of most hernias and surgeries through preventative steps. In most cases, heavy lifting, constipation, chronic coughing and sneezing can increase one’s chances of developing a hernia. Obesity, smoking, and an unbalanced diet can also add to your risks. If you think you might have a hernia, book an appointment with your family doctor immediately; while surgeries are a great treatment to avoid pain and discomfort – waiting can also increase a hernia’s progress, and future complications.