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What should I expect after Surgery?
You will need an escort to take you home after the surgery because you may still feel sleepy after the anesthetic. It is also a good idea to have someone with you for 12 to 24 hours to make sure that you can eat and drink normally. Side effects from the anesthesia and surgery include pain, muscle aches, abdominal swelled, stomach queasiness, nausea and/or vomiting, headache, somnolence or sleepiness, and sore throat (from the breathing tube). Mild pain and anti–nausea medications are given to all patients to help minimize this tendency and minor discomforts. All of these side effects will dissipate over the next few days.
Most patients need a few days to recover and get their strength back. Full activity in both open and laparoscopic procedures is encouraged after 48 hours, though the amount any patient can do is dependent on the type of procedure performed and individual responses to pain.
You will need to make an appointment with your surgeon for 1 week after the surgery to follow–up and check on your healing. There are 2 choices today for the repair of an inguinalhernia. Namely laparoscopic or Open Laparoscopic Repair.
With the minimally invasive approach the surgery is performed through 3 small incisions. A balloon is placed beneath the abdominal muscles and the hernia is reduced into the space created. A mesh patch is then placed over the defect and tacked to the surrounding ligaments and muscles with titanium tacks. Pro's include limited postoperative pain and early return to work in as few as 3–4 days. Early return to full activities by 2 weeks. 5 year results reveal recurrence rate around 2% must be performed using a general anesthetic
What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a weakness, or defect, in the lining of the abdominal muscles. This can be something you are born with or something that develops with time due to continued straining on the muscle lining from lifting, coughing, sneezing, etc. Eventually there will be a large enough defect to allow abdominal contents, such as fat, fluid or intestine, to enter into the opening. This will result in a visible bulge in the skin in the area involved. For most people this is the inguinal, or groin region. Other areas are the belly button, abdominal midline, or previous surgical scar, in addition to some other rare locations.
What is Laparoscopic Hernia Repair?
Hernia repair can now be performed with the aid of a small camera called a Laparoscope. This allows the surgeon to use small incisions to place the instruments and mesh needed to repair a hernia. The first incision is made below the belly button. A balloon is then placed beneath he abdominal muscles and inflated to create a working space. Two additional 1/2 inch incisions are made below the belly button. After the hernia sac is returned below the muscles a mesh patch is placed over the hernia defect and tacked to the surrounding ligaments and muscle with titanium tacks. The incisions are then closed with a single dissolvable suture.
When can I return to Work and Activities?
The advantage of laparoscopic repair is the quicker recovery. Most patients return to work between 1 – 2 weeks depending on the amount of lifting required. No heavy lifting greater than 20 pounds is advised for the first 2 weeks. You may resume normal activities the same day, including walking up stairs, and may shower the following day. Driving should wait until there is minimal discomfort, usually 4 – 5 days.
Am I a candidate for this type of Surgery?
Anyone with an inguinal or groin type hernia can be repaired with the laparoscopic technique unless there has been previous surgery in the middle of the lower abdomen, the patient is unable to tolerate a general anesthetic due to medical illness, or the hernia is too large (such as those that remain in the scrotum). A patient with a previous hernia repair, or a hernia on both sides is an excellent candidates for this procedure.