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How Is Hernia Resolved With Surgery?

open hernia surgery

Story at-a-glance -

  • There are two procedures patients may undergo if they have a hernia: open surgery or laparoscopic surgery
  • During an open surgery, a single and long incision is made in the groin
  • Patients with large ventral hernias, recurrent hernias, bilateral inguinal hernias and others may be good candidates for laparoscopic surgery

If your hernia is growing larger or causing pain, surgery may be recommended. Surgery for  a hernia typically depends on its location in the body.1 There are two different types of surgeries that patients can undergo.

Open Surgery

During an open surgery, a single and long incision is made in the groin. A surgeon can either move a hernia that has bulged out of the abdominal wall into its original place, push it back, or tie and remove a hernia that is observed to be going down the inguinal canal.

Ultimately, there are two aspects that must be considered if a patient needs to undergo an open surgery: the surgeon’s preference and the portion of the muscle wall that needs repairing.2 Sutures, mesh or a combination of both are used to close a hernia, while items like sutures, staples or surgical glue are used to close the surgical wound in the skin.3

A herniorrhaphy, which involves stitching the sides of healthy muscle tissue together, may be ideal for small, congenital hernias and people with healthy tissues, as this allows the use of stitches without causing stress. Meanwhile, large and recurring hernias are often covered with synthetic mesh patches, or hernioplasty. These patches aim to help decrease the tension in the affected area and the risk for a hernia recurrence , and are stitched after the hernia is pushed back into place.4

Patients who underwent an open surgery for their hernia may have a longer recovery period,5 although it is possible to go home on the same day you undergo this procedure. It takes approximately  three weeks to recover from an open surgery, and during this time you can attempt light activities or drive vehicles (around two weeks after the procedure). However, you must refrain from vigorous exercise until after the sixth week of your recovery period.

If you notice swelling over the incision, do not panic. You can alleviate this by first placing a thin cloth over the skin in the affected area and applying an ice or cold pack on it for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, every one to two hours. While an open surgery for a hernia is typically safe, seek medical attention immediately if:6

  • Your incision turns warm and red
  • A testicle hardens and becomes swollen
  • The wound bleeds heavily and seeps through the bandage
  • You develop a fever

Laparoscopic Surgery

This surgical proceduremay be considered for patients with large ventral hernias, recurrent hernias and bilateral inguinal hernias. In some cases, a laparoscopic surgery can be performed in athletes who will participate in competitions and want to speed up their recovery.7

A laparoscopic surgery involves using a laparoscope, a tube with a tiny camera at the end. After small incisions are made near the hernia, the surgeon inserts the laparoscope and  inflates your abdomen with gas. The laparoscope will produce images for the surgeon so they can repair the hernia.8 Although a laparoscopy is more expensive, this procedure is less likely to trigger complications.9 Other advantages linked to a laparoscopic surgery include:10

  • Instead of one large abdominal cut, there will only be several tiny incisions
  • A shorter hospital stay, as a patient can leave on the day of the surgery or the day after
  • Less post-surgical pain
  • Recovery time is shorter compared to those who underwent an open surgery11
  • Patient can return to work and do daily activities sooner

While recovery time for a laparoscopic hernia surgery is faster, the risk of recurrence may be higher.12 Furthermore, men with hernias that have already moved down into the scrotum may be predisposed to more complications.13 When recovering from a laparoscopic surgery, always follow your doctor’s instructions. Get enough rest14 and refrain from doing strenuous activities like exercise for around four weeks or so, even if you may already be feeling better.15

On a final note, remember that a surgery for hernia should only be considered a last resort. Try implementing better lifestyle changes first and consult your doctor for potential natural treatments that may alleviate this condition.


Hernia: An Introduction

What Is Hernia?

Hernia Symptoms

Hernia Causes

Types of Hernia

Hernia Treatment

Hernia Surgery

Hernia Prevention

Hernia Diet

Hernia FAQ

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