Hernias can be painful. You may feel pulling or soreness when you cough, bend, or lift a heavy object. This pain may be accompanied by pressure in your groin or bulging in the affected area. If you have a hernia, your doctor may recommend one of two types of hernia surgery: open hernia repair or laparoscopic hernia repair.
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 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 develops later in life. Anything that causes increased pressure on the abdomen can trigger a hernia, such as:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Persistent coughing and sneezing
- Poor health
- Using poor form (not engaging the abdominal muscles) when lifting heavy objects
A family history of hernias, obesity, poor nutrition, and smoking can also contribute to hernias. Men are more likely than women to develop a hernia.
What are the most common types of hernias?
- Femoral (outer groin)
- Incisional (on or near a surgery scar)
- 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 the hernia. The exam may include imaging tests, such as an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. Once you’re sure you have a hernia, your healthcare provider will explain your options for hernia repair surgery.
In open hernia repair surgery, a surgeon makes one large incision your abdomen. Then, they locate the hernia sac and push it back into its proper position. Next, they reinforce the muscle wall with stitches or mesh and close the incision.
An open hernia repair surgery takes about ninety minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. After surgery, you’ll be in the recovery room for about three hours before you can go home. You won’t 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, you’ll be under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and won’t feel any pain. 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 laparoscopic hernia repair, your surgeon will inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide, a harmless gas that allows them to see your organs better. Then, they’ll insert a thin tube with a tiny camera and light on the end (called a laparoscope) and use the images to guide the repair.
Once your surgeon locates the hernia sac, they’ll make a few small incisions, push the sac back into position, and reinforce the muscle wall with stitches or mesh. The surgery takes around ninety minutes. After surgery, you’ll be in the recovery room for about three hours before you can go home. Due to the sedative, you won’t be able to drive that day.
Laparoscopic hernia repair is an outpatient procedure typically performed by a general surgeon. During surgery, patients are either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and won’t feel any pain. Recovery from laparoscopic hernia repair 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 open or laparoscopic hernia surgery, depending on your personal situation. In some cases, your they may suggest watchful waiting if they don’t think surgery is necessary.
Finding a fair cost for your 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.
We’ve gathered hernia repair cost data from healthcare providers around the United States to help you determine the fair price for your surgery. Visit our hernia repair cost page to learn more about what you should pay for your procedure.
Reviewed and updated 12/21/2022.