What is an inguinal hernia?
An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia and causes either discomfort or a lump in the groin.
How does a hernia occur?
A hernia is a bulge or protusion of the contents of the abdomen (eg intestines) through a weakness in the muscle of the abdominal wall leading to a bulge or lump. Hernias can occur as a result of a weakness in the muscle wall from birth or through gradual weakening of the muscles.
What does the operation involve?
Inguinal hernias can be repaired at open operation or using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery techniques. A laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is a keyhole operation performed under a general anaesthetic. Keyhole surgery is associated with less post operative pain, scarring and far faster return to work and exercise than open surgery.
The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. Whilst you are asleep a small port is put into the abdomen just below the umbilicus through which a telescope will be inserted and gas (carbon dioxide) pumped. Two further small tubes are inserted through which the surgeon puts the instruments.
The surgeon will reduce the hernia and return it to the abdomen and the abdominal wall will be reinforced with a piece of synthetic mesh. The ports will be removed and the wounds closed with glue.
What are the benefits of surgery?
The aim of surgery is that the hernia should be repaired and that you should be free of pain and able to return to normal activity and exercise. You will also be free of the risk of complications.
Keyhole surgery is associated with less post operative pain, scarring and faster return to work than open surgery.
Recovery Most patients can have a laparoscopic inguinal hernia as a day case procedure although occasionally people may prefer to stay one night.
You will be able to return to work within 7 days and gradual return to exercise and full activity with 2-3 weeks.
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