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Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repairs

What is an inguinal hernia?

A hernia develops when there are weak spots in the muscle layer that forms the abdominal wall. Through these weak spots fatty tissue or bowel can push through.

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.

What do laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs entail?

There are a few different types of laparscopic hernia repair techniques, including TAPP and TEP. The procedures involve being put under general anaesthetic as the surgeon will make several small cuts along the abdomen in order to treat the hernia. The operation should last 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.

What are the benefits?

Surgery on this type of hernia will result in the patient no longer having a lump outside the abdominal wall, as the hernia is pushed back into place. This reduces the risk of suffering from complications that can arise from an untreated hernia.

Alternatives to inguinal hernia surgery

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.

Recovery

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. However, advice should be sought from your consultant before any exercise regime is begun. Even after surgery, a hernia may return if the abdominal wall is particularly weak.

References: 

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.

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