Abdominal hernia repair

November 12, 2012

Abdominal hernia repair

Abdominal hernias are not generally painful but do need to be repaired with a surgical procedure.

An abdominal hernia occurs when a portion of the intestine, or abdominal fatty tissue, bulges from the area where it is normally contained; they generally cause no symptoms and require surgery to be repaired. Generally our muscles are strong enough to hold our intestines and organs in place, but when they are not then a hernia can result. Hernias can be caused by a variety of things -

  • Straining on the toilet when constipated.

  • Obesity

  • Smokers cough

  • Carrying of pushing of heavy loads

How does the hernia repair take place?

There are several different surgical procedures which may be used for hernia repair surgery.

  • Open approach – once the surgeon has separated the normal tissue from the hole or weakness which is creating the hernia that hole will then be closed with sutures and plastic mesh – mesh is used to avoid excessive strain on the sutured tissue and the possibility of a hernia reoccurring. The plastic mesh is sewn to the margins of the hole of weakness and is gradually absorbed into the area as a result of the healing process. Patients may be discharged after only a few hours but will be advised to avoid strenuous activity and exercise for six weeks.

  • Laparoscopic abdominal hernia repair surgery – this technique is especially useful for patients with recurring abdominal hernias. A small instrument, similar to a telescope, is passed through a small incision in the abdomen – generally around the belly button area, the use of an integrated camera enables the surgeon to carry out the repair by inserting instruments through two more small incisions.The same mesh and suture repair can now be done with several relatively small incisions. This method gives the surgeon the ability to access the hernia with minimal damage to the abdomen surface and results in lessened postsurgical pain. Laparoscopic surgery is extremely beneficial for patients with hernias on both sides of the abdomen since they can both be repaired during the same procedure.

  • The use of a laser in hernia repair surgery is merely a method of making the necessary incision and separating of tissues – it is not used in the actual repair.

What about anaesthesia?

Hernia repair surgery can be carried out using any one of a variety of anaesthetic procedures -

  • General anaesthetic is extremely safe but is no longer the only option

  • Local anaesthetic

  • Regional anaesthetic

Sedation medication may also be used in combination with the chosen anaesthetic in order to ensure the patient is relaxed.

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