Hernia Repair Somerville & Hillsborough, NJ
When an internal organ (often the intestine) or fatty tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle wall or connective tissue, it’s known as a hernia. There are various types of hernias, depending on where they occur. If it’s small and not causing pain, the doctor will most likely advise a “watch and wait” approach to treatment. However, if the hernia is large or causes discomfort, surgery is usually recommended to relieve pain and prevent complications. There are two surgical methods for hernia repair:
1) Laparoscopic hernia repair surgery
In this minimally invasive procedure, small incisions are made in the abdomen, and a small tube with a tiny camera (laparoscope) is inserted into one of them. With camera guidance, the surgeon then inserts small surgical instruments into the other incision. The protruding intestine or organ is pushed back into place and the muscle is sutured together over it. To strengthen the area, synthetic mesh is often stitched over the repaired muscle.
Candidates for laparoscopy
Those experiencing recurring hernias can be good candidates for laparoscopy as it allows the surgeon to avoid scar tissue from previous repair. Laparoscopy may also be a good option for those with hernias on both sides. Laparoscopy may not be an option for those whose intestine has pushed down toward the scrotum, have large hernias, have had previous pelvic surgery or can’t tolerate general anesthesia.
2) Open hernia repair surgery
In this procedure (also called herniorrhaphy), the surgeon makes a standard incision in the groin, pushes the protruding intestine or fatty tissue back into the abdomen, and sutures the torn or weakened muscle shut. Synthetic mesh is often used to support the weakened area.
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
Symptoms can depend on the type and location of the hernia, but typical signs of the most common type, an inguinal hernia, can include:
- Feeling of fullness
- Dull aching sensation
- Bulge in the abdomen or groin that can be pushed back in or disappears when lying down and can return with any strain (laughing, coughing, lifting)
- Pain and burning at the site of the lump
- Pain when lifting
- Increase in lump size
Hiatal hernias produce no bulges, and instead can cause heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, difficulty swallowing and even chest pain.
Is hernia surgery painful?
Pain after surgery can vary based on the type and size of the hernia and the method used to repair it. With a laparoscopic procedure, patients typically have discomfort at the surgery site for a couple of days and possibly in the shoulders and chest from the gas used to expand the abdomen for the surgery. With an open procedure, you may experience more pain.
What is recovery like after hernia repair?
Depending on your occupation and the type of procedure, full recovery can take anywhere from one to six weeks.
- Traditional open surgery can take up to six weeks for full recovery
- Laparoscopic surgery is relatively easy and usually only requires a few days of rest before returning to normal light activities.
The incision site may be sore for two or three days and may be swollen, bruised, tender or numb. Patients should also expect to feel tired for one to two weeks post-surgery.
Can I prevent a hernia?
The risk of hernia increases with age and occurs more commonly in men than in women, and in people who have already had a hernia. Congenital hernias can’t be prevented; however, taking steps to avoid an increase in pressure that can stress weak areas in the abdominal wall can reduce the risk of developing most other types:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid constipation and straining during bowel movements
- Use proper lifting techniques at work, home and in sports
- Avoid causes of chronic coughing (smoking, infections)
What are the risks of hernia repair?
Risks specific to hernia repair can include:
- Hernia reoccurrence
- Prolonged pain at the site
- Damage to blood vessels
- Nerve damage
- Damage to nearby organs
Is hernia repair surgery expensive?
The average cost for an open hernia surgery can range between $<4,400 and $30,000>. Laparoscopic hernia repair can range between $<2,800 and $20,000>.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of hernia, make an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Call today: (908) 722-0030.