Everything You Need to Know About Hernia Surgery

A hernia is an injury in which an organ or other internal tissue buries through the muscle. Herniorrhaphy, also known as hernia surgery, involves restoring the damaged tissues to their original positions.

Hernioplasty refers to a type of hernia surgery that involves the placement of a mesh patch over the affected tissue.

One of the most commonly performed surgeries is hernia surgery. A 2014 study by the Association of VA Surgeons found that more than 350,000 ventral hernias (those in the abdomen region) are treated annually in the United States.

Surgery

Hernias can cause painful, annoying, and noticeable symptoms in as little as 1 to 2 years. For some people, hernia symptoms may not be apparent until they are doing strenuous exercises, for instance.

The following are signs and symptoms of hernia, as well as factors that may indicate that surgery may be required:

  • Long-term discomfort or pain from hernias
  • Pain or discomfort that affects daily activities
  • Pain or discomfort that intensifies or gets worse over time
  • Hernias are rapidly growing

Hernias that are located in areas where they could worsen or enlarge, such as the groin

  • Sharp abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Hernias can cause nerve irritation and numbness by putting pressure on the nerves.

Sometimes hernias don’t cause enough symptoms to warrant treatment. Surgery is required for hernias that are not resolvable or healed

There are many types of hernia surgery:

  • Herniorrhaphy is tissue repair

Herniorrhaphy, the oldest type hernia surgery, is still being practiced. This involves the surgeon cutting a long incision over the hernia and then using surgical tools to allow access.

  • The hernia sac and tissues are then removed.

The surgeon stitches the side of the opening in the muscle or through which the hernia protruded. After the wound is sterilized, it’s closed with a stitch.

  • Mesh repair (hernioplasty)

Instead of closing the muscle opening with stitches, hernioplasty uses a flat, sterilized mesh to cover it. This is usually made from flexible plastics such as polypropylene or animal tissue.

The surgeon will make small cuts in the mesh to create the hole and then stitch the patch into the surrounding healthy tissues.

The mesh will be used by damaged or weak tissues around the hernia to support and strengthen them as they regrow.

Hernioplasty, also known as tension-free hernia surgery, is more well-known.

Different types of hernia

The nature of the hernia may determine the type of repair that is required. The most common hernias include:

  • Reduced hernia: The hernia is pushed back into its original opening.
  • Irreducible hernia or incarcerated hernia is when the organ or abdominal tissue has filled the hernia sac and cannot be pushed through the hole.
  • Strangulated hernia is when a part of an organ, or tissue, becomes stuck within the hernia. The blood supply to that area is often cut off.
  • Either laparoscopically or through a large incision, both types of hernia surgery can be performed. This involves accessing the tissues via three to four small cuts that are made next to the hernia.
  • Laparoscopic surgery is performed using a fiber-optic cable that acts as a video camera. The surgeons can view inside the body of patients by inserting the laparoscope into the small cuts.

Recovery

Before the patient is released from hospital, their surgeon will inform them of what should be avoided and how long.

A full recovery from hernia surgery usually takes between 3 and 6 weeks. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for a person to return to work and everyday activities.

Complications

There are side effects to hernia surgery, as with all surgeries.

It is likely that the incision site will appear reddish and swollen. It will often feel painful to touch.

Anti-inflammatory and over-the-counter pain medications can help to reduce inflammation and the associated symptoms. Ice can be applied to the affected area in 10-minute intervals, once an hour, to reduce inflammation.

There are some complications and risk associated with hernia repairs that are less common but still possible.

  • Infection
  • Organ or tissue damage
  • Recurrence of or return to the hernia
  • Seroma, or a fluid-filled pouch under the skin’s surface.
  • Nerve damage, neuralgia, or nerve pain that causes tingling and numbness
  • Constipation and slow bowel movements
  • Inability to urinate or difficulty urinating
  • Incontinence and urine leakage
  • Hemorrhage, internal bleeding, hemorhage and hematoma (blood pooling at the wound)
  • Extensive scarring or adhesions
  • Incisional hernia caused by a surgical cut
  • Fistula, or an abnormal opening between 2 organs
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Blood clot
  • pneumonia, lung infection, or breathing difficulties
  • Kidney complications or failure
  • Mesh pain

When should you see a doctor?

A doctor should assess the following signs and symptoms:

The incision may remain inflamed and painful for several days following surgery.

New symptoms may develop that are not apparent in the first hours following surgery.A hernia is an injury in which an organ or other internal tissue buries through the muscle. Herniorrhaphy, also known as hernia surgery, involves restoring the damaged tissues to their original positions.New symptoms may develop that are not apparent in the first hours following surgery.

  • Hernia bulge can change color, especially in dark shades of red or purple
  • Skin tint changes or paleness
  • Clear fluid, blood, puss or urine may be seen as a sign of infection.
  • The incision wound won’t heal
  • Hard, swollen testicles
  • Inflammation and pain that doesn’t respond to pain medication or ice
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sharp abdominal pain and vomiting

Infections, which are the most serious complications, often require immediate medical attention, can develop in the weeks and days following surgery.

Risk factors

Some factors may complicate hernia surgery Singapore and increase the chance of side effects or even failure.

These are some of the most common risk factors for hernias or undergoing hernia surgery:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Family history
  • Occupation
  • Constipation
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Malnutrition

According to the American College of Surgeons, 1 in 2,000 American mothers develop a hernia while pregnant.

There are no risk factors that can lead to a hernia. Your Singapore colorectal surgeon will educate you with all the associated risk factors.