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Hernia Repair

Hernia repair is one of the most commonly performed operations. A hernia is usually treated with surgery. A hernia may occur whenever the muscles of the abdomen develop a weak spot or tear. These muscles normally hold the organs and surrounding tissues in place.

There are several types of hernia that you can experience including, inguinal hernias, femoral hernias, umbilical hernias, epigastric, incisional and hiatal hernias.  About nine out of ten hernias occur in the groin area (inguinal and femoral).

The three main types of hernia surgery are open repair, laparoscopic repair, and robotic repair.  Each type of surgery has its advantages and disadvantages. The best approach will be decided  at your consult with Dr Free.

Common Hernias

A hernia occurs when an internal organ or other body part protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue that normally contains it.

The most common forms of hernia are:

  • Femoral hernia: Fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. Femoral hernias are much less common than inguinal hernias and mainly affect older women.
  • Umbilical hernia: Fatty tissue or part of the intestine pushes through the abdomen near the navel (belly button).
  • Hiatal (hiatus) hernia: Part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm (the horizontal sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen).
  • Inguinal hernia: In men, the inguinal canal is a passageway for the spermatic cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains the round ligament that gives support for the uterus. In an inguinal hernia, fatty tissue or a part of the intestine pokes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. This is the most common type of hernia, and affects men more often than women.

Other types of hernias include:

  • Incisional hernia: Tissue protrudes through the site of an abdominal scar from a remote abdominal or pelvic operation.
  • Epigastric hernia: Fatty tissue protrudes through the abdominal area between the navel and lower part of the sternum (breastbone).
  • Spigelian hernia: The intestine pushes through the abdomen at the side of the abdominal muscle, below the navel.
  • Diaphragmatic hernia: Organs in the abdomen move into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm.

What can happen if a hernia is not treated?

  • If neglected, a hernia will usually increase in size and become more painful or develop coomplications. Occasionally it can lead to complications such as strangulation of the intestine – this is extremely dangerous and requires emergency surgery.

What can I expect after surgery?

  • Dr Free will discuss your expected recovery time frame including how long you will need to take off from work or heavy lifting etc. Following surgery you will also be provided with guidance including how to care for the incision site and how to take care to avoid physical strain. Hernias may recur regardless of the repair operations.

    Recovery at home may take one to two weeks, and may be even longer depending on the type of hernia repair and your personal circumstance. Ask your surgeon about what level of activity is advisable in your particular situation.

    You will return to see Dr Free within 2-3 weeks following your surgery for a post-operative follow up. He will examine you to check how you are healing, and answer any questions.