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An inguinal hernia is a hernia that develops in the inguinal canal – this is a small area that allows blood vessels to pass through the abdominal wall.
Hernias are particularly dangerous as the tissue or bowel that pokes through the abdominal wall can become trapped. This can cut off the blood supply to the tissue and cause it to die – referred to as a strangulated hernia.
Surgery on an inguinal hernia will result in the patient no longer having a lump outside the abdominal wall, as the hernia is pushed back into place and secured with a mesh. For the TAPP technique, the surgeon enters the membrances covering the organs in the abdominal cavity, and places a mesh to repair the hernia through the incision.
Sometimes a truss (a kind of belt that has special padding) may be used to help ease the side-effects of a hernia. Leaving it alone can also help to control the hernia, but without surgery it is unlikely to fully heal.
It involves being put under general anaesthetic as the surgeon is required to make several small cuts along the abdomen in order to treat the hernia. The operation will last for around 30 minutes – 1 hour.
The surgeon will use the cuts to insert surgical instruments and a telescope to perform the operation inside the abdomen. With these tools the surgeon will move the tissue or bowel that has poked through back into place and use a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spot of muscle that caused the hernia in the first place.
Most patients return home either the same day or the day after the operation – most patients can also return to normal activities as soon as they feel comfortable enough to do so (this can sometimes take up to a week). Patients do not necessarily have to avoid lifting objects, but particularly heavy ones should not be lifted for the first fortnight to four weeks. Exercise can help with the recovery process and will also help patients return to performing normal activities as soon as possible. Advice should be sought before any exercise regime is begun. Even after surgery, a hernia may return if the abdominal wall is particularly weak.
EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this page is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.