About The Condition
Hernia refers to a weakness in your abdominal wall or internally, which enables the contents of your abdomen to push outward. Some people may be born with a hernia. Others may acquire one over time. If left untreated, hernias can get worse. You might see a bulge under your skin that gets larger when you stand. You also may notice the hernia when you lift something, cough or even urinate. Most hernias require surgical repair by pushing the bulging tissue back into the abdominal cavity and securing the weakened tissues. Often, a mesh material is used to help repair the weakness and prevent further hernias.
There are several types of hernias, depending on where they are and how they occur:
- Diaphragmatic hernia – occurs near the diaphragm
- Femoral hernia – occurs just below the groin
- Hiatal hernia – occurs in the diaphragm where the esophagus meets the stomach
- Inguinal hernia – occurs in the groin, more common in men
- Spigelian hernia – occurs in between muscles in the abdominal wall
- Umbilical hernia – occurs at the navel
- Ventral hernia – general term that can involve hernia anywhere on the abdominal wall.
- Incisional hernia – occurs at the site of prior surgical incision or scar
Prior to your hernia repair surgery, please follow these pre-surgery guidelines:
- Stop smoking for one month prior to your surgery. Nicotine decreases blood flow and prevents healing after surgery and increases your risk of infection.
- Increase your activity. Aim for 30 minutes of walking or other aerobic activity daily to build strength.
- Improve your nutrition. Add protein supplements such as Boost or Ensure to help your body heal after surgery
- You may be asked to lose weight prior to hernia surgery for a more successful repair and reduced rate of recurrence.
Please ask your physician about any additional steps you should take before your surgery.
Our surgeons perform open surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgeries, for hernia repair. Your surgeon will explain your particular procedure in more detail.
Minimally invasive surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery is performed with laparoscopy or robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System.
- Laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery requires only a few small incisions into which your surgeon will fit long, thin surgical instruments and a tiny camera. The camera will provide images to guide the surgeon during the procedure.
- Robotic surgery. Some laparoscopic surgeries may be performed using the da Vinci Surgical System. This robotic option gives your surgeon a magnified 3D high-definition view inside your body. The system also enables the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into precise movements of small instruments inside your body.
Open surgery. With open surgery, your physician will make an incision at the site of the abnormality large enough so he or she can see and touch your internal organs while operating.
- You will be encouraged to walk to prevent blood clots, muscle weakness and constipation.
- For large hernias, you may have surgical drains in place to help your incision heal. You may want to have someone help you with this care when you return home.
- You may not be hungry at first, so return to a normal diet slowly. Check with your physician about using supplements if your appetite is poor.
- Your abdomen may feel tighter after hernia repair, and there may be some swelling.
- You may experience constipation. If so, you may take a laxative such as Miralax or Milk of Magnesia.
- Ice may help to reduce the swelling for the first 48 to 96 hours. Then use heat to ease muscle soreness and relax tight muscles.
- You may use ibuprofen in addition to prescription pain medication to help with pain control.
- For men, swelling and bruising in the penis and scrotum can be normal. To reduce these symptoms, an athletic supporter (jock strap) may be helpful after inguinal
- A small amount of bleeding or drainage is expected from the wound during the first one or two days.
- You may shower one or two days after surgery, but avoid baths, hot tubs, soaking or swimming for at least two weeks.
- An abdominal binder may be helpful in providing support to your abdominal wall.
- Always talk to your surgeon about weight restrictions and return-to-work options.
- Most patients who have had laparoscopic or robotic surgery for inguinal or umbilical hernias are discharged the same day of their surgery.
- You will be asked to see your surgeon in one to three weeks after surgery.
- If you notice a fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit or drainage from your wound, let your surgeon know by calling 763.780.6699.
If you have additional questions, please contact us at 763.780.6699.
Minimally invasive hernia repair with mesh #1
Minimally invasive hernia repair with mesh #2