While most hernias aren’t immediately dangerous, they don’t go away on their own, so surgery is oftentimes needed to prevent complications.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia happens when the muscle or tissue that holds an organ in place weakens, allowing the organ to break through the muscle or tissue. One of the most common hernias is the abdominal hernia, in which the intestines push through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Hernias can also take place in the groin, upper thigh, or belly button. They can develop quickly or over a period of time, with symptoms including a bulge in the abdomen or groin that gets larger when you stand, cough, or strain. Hernias can also cause pain or discomfort.
Why is Surgery Necessary?
Left untreated, a hernia can grow larger and become more painful. Hernias can also be dangerous. In the case of an abdominal hernia, for example, a portion of the intestine can become trapped in the abdominal wall, obstructing the bowel and causing severe pain, nausea, or constipation. It can also put too much pressure on surrounding tissues and cause increased swelling and pain.
In this situation, blood will have difficulty reaching the trapped intestine, causing intestinal tissue to become infected or die. Such a case would be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. That’s why, in many cases, surgery is recommended to treat hernias before they become more serious.
What Should I Expect from Surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery requires three small incisions, while open surgery requires a larger incision. Your surgeon will help you determine which procedure is right for you depending on the type, location, and size of the hernia, as well as your lifestyle, age, and overall health.
Before surgery, you will need to take some pre-operative tests and likely have dietary and medication restrictions. At the time of surgery, you’ll receive local or spinal anesthesia to numb the lower part of your body, or general anesthesia, which involves receiving medication through an IV.
What Happens After Surgery?
It is common to experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising at the surgical site after your procedure. You may also feel a pulling or tugging sensation. Recovery varies by patient and depends on a number of factors including what type of surgery you had. Typically the recuperating process lasts about a month. Most patients need to rest and stay home from work or school for anywhere from four to seven days, although specifics will vary. Exercise and heavy lifting are usually restricted for the first few weeks.
Recovery is usually faster with laparoscopic surgery. On average, patients are back to their normal routine a week sooner than with open surgery.
Learn More About Hernia Surgery at MSA
Our expert general surgeons are knowledgeable and experienced with all types of hernia surgeries. Watch our videos to learn more or contact us to schedule a consultation.