Although there are many different types of hernias, there are a few basic characteristics that are similar no matter the type of hernia. A hernia is basically a hole or weakness in the fascia which allows protrusion of what it is normally holding in. Hernias most commonly occur in your inner groin, at a surgical incision spot, in your outer groin, or at your belly button.
All hernias will eventually require surgery if they are to be repaired. The general technique that is used - older open surgery or newer, less invasive/laparoscopic surgery- will greatly impact the recovery that you can expect following the surgery. Regardless of the technique, you should expect this to be an outpatient procedure that will most likely be performed at a free-standing surgery center, such as Stonebridge Surgery Center in McKinney.
During an open type repair, once the protruding organs have been returned to their normal anatomic position, the fascial defect is usually closed via a suture repair which may or may not be reinforced by a piece of mesh. Because there are sutures being used to close the actual defect, recovery following this type of surgery will be longer and your activity will need to be more limited or you can increase the chances of the sutures pulling apart and leading to a recurrent hernia later on. Anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks of limited activity (no heavy lifting or strenuous exercise) should be anticipated with this type of repair.
If your surgeon decides to handle your hernia laparoscopically, after general anesthesia is administered, your abdomen will be filled with carbon dioxide gas to allow the surgeon to visualize the hernia defect and carry out the repair. This technique will employ a piece of mesh to patch the defect rather than closing it. Because there are no sutures to pull apart, this is what is called a “tension-free” repair and allows for a much quicker return to both normal and more strenuous activities. It is not unusual for patients of Dr. Scott deVilleneuve at Surgical Associates of North Texas to have their hernia surgery on Friday and be back at work on Monday as if they had never even had surgery.
As with any type of surgical procedure, there are risks with both open and laparoscopic hernia repairs. Bleeding, risk of infection, complications from anesthesia are common risks of all surgical procedures. The two biggest risks that are more specific to hernia surgery are chronic pain and recurrence of the hernia. As with the recovery, the type of technique used also affects the likelihood of having a complication after your surgery. There is a much greater chance of having a recurrent hernia if an open technique is utilized as opposed to a laparoscopic approach. The risks of infection and chronic pain are also lower with less invasive techniques.
Following the instructions given to you by your surgeon should help to minimize the chances of having a complication, but no matter how careful you are, sometimes these problems will develop. If you’ve had a hernia repair in the past and think that you might be experiencing a complication or have a recurrence, then you should consult with Dr. deVilleneuve or his Physician Assistant, Jennifer Sommers, PA-C at Surgical Associates of North Texas. They will be able to tell if you are indeed having a recurrence, and if so, how to best deal with it. Please give us a call at (972) 947- 2264 or you can book directly online.