Hernia repair surgery is one of the more common surgical procedures performed in the U.S., with over half a million performed each year. A hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal muscle. As a result, structures within the abdominal cavity may become displaced and push through the weakened area. Depending on the site and extent of the hernia, there may be pain, infection and possible obstruction of abdominal structures. Hernia surgery is considered to be the only option to repair a hernia.
The most common hernias for which surgical repairs are performed are inguinal and umbilical hernias. An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin area, while the umbilical hernia is found around the navel, or bellybutton.
Depending on the location and severity of the hernia, the surgeon will choose either an open or laparoscopic surgical procedure. The open procedure is the most invasive and requires a larger incision and longer recovery time.
While laparoscopic hernia surgery is less invasive than the open procedure, it carries a higher risk of complications and recurrence of the hernia.
The following complications can occur with either the open or laparoscopic procedures: difficulty urinating, bleeding, infection and recurrence of the hernia. For males, an additional complication for inguinal hernia repair is the occurrence of discoloration of the scrotum and shrinking of the testicles.
After hernia surgery, it is important to follow the post operative instruction given by the surgeon. The surgeon should be contacted immediately if any of the following occur within 48 hours after the surgery: bloody drainage from incision, difficulty urinating, nausea, vomiting and fever.