There are many different types of hernias; inguinal, femoral, umbilical, incisional, and more. Regardless of the exact diagnosis, every hernia has a few things in common. First and foremost, every hernia causes pain and discomfort. Whatever the location of the hernia, every hernia repair surgery has many similarities. If you are planning a hernia repair surgery, you likely have a few questions. What exactly is involved in hernia repair surgery? What will the recovery be like? How long until I can get back to doing the things I want to do without pain or discomfort?
The first step in hernia repair surgery is discussing your exact problems with your surgeon. Although many hernias are very similar, no two people are exactly alike. Instead, talk with your surgeon about the exact location of pain, what you have found that relieve pain, how long you have been dealing with your hernia, and other information about your specific case. Your doctor will likely have questions about your personal medical history, what medications you are currently taking, if you have a family history of hernias or other similar conditions, and more.
There are two distinct surgical procedures used for hernia repair surgery. One technique is known as herniorrhaphy. In herniorrhaphy, the abdominal cavity is opened up and the lump of tissue, called the hernia sac, is removed or placed into the correct position. Any adjustments to internal organs that are needed are then made, including blocking any further protrusions. The muscular wall that is meant to hold the soft tissue in place is then repaired. In other cases, additional support to the muscular wall is required. In these situations, a layer of mesh is placed over the weak point in the muscular wall. This procedure is known as a hernioplasty.
In some rare cases, there are hernias on both sides of the body. This will call for a longer, more intensive surgery with a potentially longer stay. The two hernias may also require different procedures in order to deal with them in a minimally invasive but effective way. Once all internal adjustments have been made, the incision site is then stitched shut.
Hernia surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning that an overnight stay is not expected. However, extenuating circumstance may arise that require an extended stay. Instead, you may only need to spend a few hours in the recovery room. Here, the staff will monitor your vital signs and ensure that no obvious complications have arisen. A standard recovery from a hernia surgery for healthy patients is usually around three weeks. Within those three weeks or so, strenuous movements must be limited. This includes bending, lifting, and rigorous activity. Even once these basic restrictions have been lifted, avoid movements that cause pain to the incision site or the former location of the hernia. It will be important to discuss recovery time with your surgeon. Even though hernia repair surgery is a common procedure, every surgery and patient is different.
Your surgeon may have share different expectations for your recovery. Keep a close eye on the incision site and the former location of the hernia. Monitor for signs of swelling, infection, or reoccurrence. These are rare, but potentially serious outcomes. Talk with your doctor if any of these occur.
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