Hernias can be painful. You may feel pain when you cough, bend, or lift a heavy object. You may feel pressure in your groin or have swelling or a bulge in the affected area. If you have a hernia, your doctor may recommend either an open hernia repair surgery or a laparoscopic hernia repair surgery.
Below, learn about the different types of hernia repair surgery.
What is a hernia?
Hernias occur when an organ, fatty tissue, or intestine pushes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue. This results in a sac forming in the abdominal wall. Sometimes hernias are visible as bulges under the skin. Hernias aren’t always harmful or even painful, but they should be closely monitored to make sure that they don’t negatively impact your health.
Who gets hernias?
Hernias are caused by a combination of pressure and weakness. The pressure pushes an organ or tissue through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue. Sometimes the muscle weakness is present at birth but it usually occurs later in life. Anything that causes increased pressure on the abdomen can trigger a hernia. Increased pressure can come from:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Persistent coughing and sneezing
- Poor health
- Using poor form (not engaging the abdominal muscles) when lifting heavy objects
A family history, obesity, poor nutrition, and smoking can also contribute to hernias. Men are more likely than women to develop hernias.
What are the most common types of hernias?
- Femoral (outer groin)
- Incisional (resulting from an incision)
- Inguinal (inner groin)
- Hiatal (upper stomach)
- Umbilical (belly button)
What happens during an open hernia repair surgery?
Your doctor will perform a physical exam to diagnose a hernia. The exam may include imaging tests, such as an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. You may be placed on a high-fiber diet with vegetables and fruit to ease constipation. Surgery is the only way to correct a hernia.
In an open hernia repair surgery, a surgeon makes an incision in the skin, locates the hernia sac, pushes the sac back into its proper position or removes it, reinforces the muscle wall with stitches or mesh, and closes the incision. An open hernia repair surgery takes about ninety minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. After surgery, you will be in the recovery room for about three hours. You will not be able to drive that day, so be sure to have a family member or friend with you.
Open hernia repair surgeries are performed by general surgeons. During surgery, patients are either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and won’t feel any pain. This is usually an outpatient surgery. Recovery from open hernia repair surgery takes a few days, though strenuous activity is usually prohibited for up to six weeks after surgery.
What happens during a laparoscopic hernia repair surgery?
During a laparoscopic hernia repair surgery, your surgeon will inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide, a harmless gas that allows them to see your organs better. They will then insert a thin tube with a tiny camera and light on the end, called a laparoscope, and use the images to guide the repair. Your surgeon locates the hernia sac, makes a few incisions, pushes the sac back into position or removes it, reinforces the muscle wall with stitches or mesh, and closes the incisions. The surgery takes around ninety minutes. After surgery, you will be in the recovery room for about three hours. Due to the sedative, you will not be able to drive that day.
Laparoscopic hernia repair surgeries are performed by general surgeons. During surgery, patients are either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and won’t feel any pain. This is usually an outpatient surgery. Recovery from laparoscopic hernia repair surgery takes a few days, though strenuous activity is usually prohibited for up to five weeks after surgery.
Are there alternatives to hernia repair surgery?
Surgery is the only option to repair a hernia. Your doctor will recommend either an open hernia repair surgery or laparoscopic hernia repair surgery, depending on your personal situation. In some cases, your doctor may suggest watchful waiting if they don’t think surgery is necessary.
Finding a fair cost for your laparoscopic hernia repair surgery
There are many factors that can affect the price that you pay for your hernia repair, including the surgeon and healthcare facility that you choose. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find accurate cost information for your medical procedures. New Choice Health has gathered hernia repair surgery pricing information from healthcare providers around the United States to help you determine what the fair price for your medical procedure will be. Visit New Choice Health’s hernia repair cost page to learn more about what you should pay for your procedure.