Surgery for Hernias

Laparoscopy makes hernia repairs even simpler

Hernias of various types are common conditions.  The primary treatment for abdominal hernias is surgery, and hundreds of thousands of patients undergo these operations each year in the U.S.

Hernia repair (herniorrhaphy and hernioplasty)
In the traditional procedure for hernia repair (herniorrhaphy), the surgeon creates a surgical opening over the hernia (usually in or near the groin), pushes the intestine back in place, and reconnects the muscle wall, sewing it together so that the intestine stays in its normal position.
  Sometimes the weak area of the muscle wall is reinforced with mesh (hernioplasty).

Today, the surgeon can often make these repairs with the newer approach of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery (surgery using tiny incisions and a long, thin endoscope and endoscopic tools).  This eliminates the need for a conventional abdominal incision and requires only several small incisions. 

For hernia repair, patients may receive local, spinal, or general anesthesia, according to the surgeon’s preferences, the patient’s preferences, and the precise nature of the hernia repair.  Normally, hernia repairs can be done on an outpatient basis.

Bowel resection
If the protruding intestine becomes twisted or traps stool, a bowel resection may need to be performed. In this procedure, part of the intestine, or bowel, is removed, and the surgeon repairs or reconnects the remaining margins or ends of the intestine to restore the integrity and continuity of the digestive tract.

Patients have diminishing restrictions on activities in the hours, days, and weeks, in which they are recovering from a hernia repair.  Recurrence rates for hernias at the site of repair are low.

For patients who are not experiencing any complications from a hernia, surgical repair is an elective operation.  They should discuss the choice with their doctor and specialists.