A hernia is a condition when an internal organ protrudes through the muscular wall that is holding it. This can happen with any organ from the chest to the hips in individuals.
Types of hernia:
- Inguinal Hernia
- Femoral Hernia
- Umbilical Hernia
- Hiatal Hernia
Usually, when an internal organ protrudes, it will be possible to see a bulge (kind of swelling) in the area and your doctor can make it out with a simple examination. For more clarity, imaging like a CT scan may be required by your specialist.
Treatment of hernia
In most cases, surgery might be the only way to correct the hernia. Some surgeries may be done using a laparoscope and some may be done using conventional techniques. There are three types of hernia surgeries:
- Open surgery – An incision is made in the affected area. The organ is pushed inside to its original place and the muscle will be stitched up to make it stronger. If needed, a mesh may also be put in place to support the muscle.
- Laparoscopic surgery – The same procedure is similar to open surgery but instead of a big incision, few small incisions will be made through which the laparoscope and other surgical devices will be inserted to perform the procedure. Advantages of the laparoscopic procedure include quick recovery time, lower chances of infection, minimal pain and blood loss.
- Robotic Hernia Surgery/Repair – Similar to laparoscopic surgery but after the surgical devices are inserted into the patient’s body, the surgeon sits in front of a computer like a device and operates the surgical devices from it. This is very helpful as this procedure can be used for smaller hernias and can be performed with utmost precision. 3D Robotic surgeries are even more helpful as they give a clear 3D view of the internal organs of the body on the screen.
Recovery and downtime following hernia surgery
Complete recovery from laparoscopic hernia surgery can take anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks. The patient can return to work after 2 weeks post-surgery provided his/her work doesn’t involve much physical work like lifting weights.
However, in most cases, 6 weeks is good enough time period to test and to recover completely from hernia surgery.
Can hernia return?
Yes, hernia returns in 5% of the individuals. The most likely reason is that a large amount of muscle is weaker and the organ finds another way to break through and protrude.
In order to avoid recurrence of the hernia, the patient is advised to stop smoking (to help in healing and for overall health benefit), avoid lifting weights during the recovery period and follow the doctor’s prescription as given. If the patient is obese or overweight, he/she will be advised to work on their weight.
If you happen to see the abnormal bulging of any part of your body, with/without pain including in your groin/testicles area, don’t hesitate to see your primary physician or a good hernia surgeon. Hernia most often doesn’t go away on its own and must be treated. Ignoring hernia can complicate the problem, especially if the case is an inguinal hernia or femoral.