Groin hernia surgery, also known as inguinal hernia repair, is a common surgical procedure to repair a weakness in the groin. A hernia is a weakness or tear that allows fatty tissue or bowel to poke through. It can manifest as a bulge in the lower abdomen or groin which cause discomfort. Left untreated a hernia can enlarge, become increasingly painful and in some cases bowel can become entrapped within them (incarcerated). Should the bowel lose its blood supply (strangulated) a life threatening emergency can ensue. Surgery is often recommended to alleviate symptoms and minimise the risk of such complications.
Surgical repair for groin hernias can be performed using two different techniques, open surgery and minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery. The choice of approach depends on the patient’s condition, the size and type of hernia.
Groin Hernia Surgery
- Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery– Requires a general anaesthetic but is mostly conducted as a day case. Three small incisions are made, a camera is inserted so that the surgeon can see. The hernia is then pulled back into place through the use of surgical instruments and a repair fashioned using a flat patch (mesh) from the inside.
- Open surgery– again mostly performed under general but can be conducted under local anaesthetic in an awake patient, if needed. A cut over the hernia is created, the lump separated from its surroundings and pushed back inside. As in keyhole surgery, a mesh is then used in the area where the abdominal wall is weak, helping to strengthen the area. In general the recovery from the key hole repair and return to activities is quicker than for open surgery. In addition laparoscopic hernia repair is associated with a reduced risk chronic groin discomfort
If your groin hernia isn’t causing pain or the risks of repair are deemed unjustified for example in a frail or medically unfit patient, your doctor might recommend waiting and watching and possibly offer a truss, which can help to support and relieve symptoms.
Recovery after groin hernia surgery
Recovery after groin hernia surgery varies depending on the technique used and the patient’s individual circumstances but in general return to normal activity is quicker (usually days) with key hole surgery than with an open repair (usually a few weeks). It’s essential to follow postoperative care instructions, including proper wound care, lifting restrictions, and any recommended lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Overall, groin hernia surgery is a safe and effective way to alleviate discomfort, improve quality of life, and prevent potential complications associated with untreated hernias. If you suspect you have a groin hernia, consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalised treatment plan.
Learn More About Hernia Repair With Mr Andrew Clarke. If you have any questions about hernias or the treatment process, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your symptoms and more.