Hernias occur at natural weak points in the abdominal wall such as at the groin or belly button. Fatty tissue or bowel can protrude through this weak point which can cause pain and risk strangulation of the intestine entrapped within it. Hernias are not something that can get better on their own, instead they tend to get bigger. As a result, if you are suffering from a hernia, the chances are your doctor will refer you for hernia repair.
Some hernias may not need immediate treatment, or may not need treatment at all. For this reason, if you are suffering from symptoms of a hernia, we always recommend booking a consultation. Treatments for hernias depend on its size and location and of the risks of complications from it
Do I need hernia surgery?
In some circumstances you might need hernia surgery, your doctor will recommend surgery if any of the following symptoms arise:
- If it is found that your tissue becomes trapped in your abdominal wall, this issue is called incarceration.
- If your hernia becomes strangulated, if this this is not treated then this can cause damage to your other organs.
- If the hernia is not going away, if it is causing pain and is getting larger.
Types of hernia surgery
There are two different ways in which your doctor can remove your hernia. However, both ways have to take place at a hospital, usually you are able to go home a few days after your surgery. The two types of hernia surgery are:
Laparoscopic surgery: You will need a general anaesthetic when undergoing this type of repair. Your abdomen will be inflated with a harmless gas, which provides your surgeon a view of the hernia from the inside. A few (usually 3) small incisions in the abdominal wall allow for a tiny camera and key hole instruments access and using the images from the camera, mesh will be inserted to repair the hernia.
There tends to be a quicker recovery time with laparoscopic surgery and the risk of long term discomfort from the repair is reduced compared with its open counterpart. Your surgeon will decide if this approach is suitable for you.
Open surgery: Again performed under general anaesthesia. An incision through the skin over the hernia allows access to the weakened area and a repair using mesh . This surgery takes longer to recover and the risk of chronic groin pain is increased compared with laparoscopic surgery.
Risks of hernia surgery
Hernia surgery tends to be a normally safe surgery. However, all surgeries can come with some risks:
- Feeling sore and some pain
- Blood clots
- The hernia may return
If in some cases you are unable to have surgery or if it is not recommended to you, other treatments are available. You may be recommended to wear a corset, binder or truss. This will ensure that your hernia stays in place, along with easing discomfort.