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Hernia

Minimally Invasive and Bariatrics Surgery (MIB) regularly performs hernia repairs for our patients through a minimally invasive procedure designed to provide an easier recovery with minimal pain. When compared with open hernia repair, the minimally invasive procedure leaves the patient with smaller scars, less pain, and a quicker recovery time. We full-heartedly believe in the utilization of the most progressive means of medical technology available to improve our patients’ experience. For patients with large hernias related to multiple previous abdominal surgeries, we may fix the hernia while reconstructing the abdominal wall to help regain the function of the muscles.

What is minimally-invasive hernia repair?

Minimally-invasive hernia repair with MIB Surgery is performed using a laparoscope or the DaVinci Surgical Robot and small surgical tools to fix the hernia. A laparoscope is a small, thin tube with a tiny video camera at its tip. The surgeon is guided in the surgery by the images transmitted from the tiny camera inside the patient’s body, onto a TV screen. This allows for greater precision by the surgeon, and a decrease in the size of incision needed.

What are the types of hernias that need repair?

The hernia which most regularly needs repair is found in the abdomen or belly. This type of hernia occurs when the muscles inside the abdomen weaken in one spot. When the muscle weakens, a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue pushes through the muscle layer. When this breach happens, a hernia occurs, and surgery may be necessary.

MIB Surgery can repair a wide array of hernias for our patients. This list includes but is not limited to:

  • Inguinal Hernia: This is the most regularly found abdominal hernia. It occurs more often in men than women, in the groin areas, and commonly occurs when a person lifts heavy objects. An inguinal hernia is a serious matter which can result in a medical emergency if the blood supply to part of the intestine is cut off when it is trapped in the hernia.
  • Ventral Hernia: Ventral hernias are a broad ranging category, listed as all hernias occurring in the front of the belly, however when they occur at the site of a surgical scar, they are known as incisional hernias. Up to one-third of patients who have had an open abdominal surgery may develop a ventral hernia at their incision.
  • Umbilical Hernia: This is a kind of hernia that occurs right at the belly button.
  • Femoral Hernia: Femoral Hernias are like inguinal hernias, but they happen lower in the groin near the thigh. This type of hernia is most commonly found in more elderly patients and in women who have never been pregnant. This type of hernia is also very dangerous and may ultimately result in a medical emergency. Whenever found surgical consultation is advised.
  • Massive Incisional Hernia: This is a large hernia, greater than 10 cm in size, and commonly presents at the site of a previous surgery in the abdomen. They distort the belly shape and function which causes bothersome symptoms.
  • Hiatal Hernia/Diaphragmatic Hernia: Hiatal or paraesophageal hernias occur on a defect at the diaphragm which separates your chest from the belly. It is often caused when the stomach or part of it moves up to the chest. It commonly causes acid reflux, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, persistent nausea and vomiting, anemia, and stomach bleeding.

Why should a doctor recommend minimally-invasive hernia repair for a patient?

A doctor may recommend minimally-invasive hernia repair when a hernia has become painful or is causing bothersome symptoms to the patient. A hernia which has gone untreated/unrepaired may become troublesome and result in complications. One example of such a complication is “strangulation” when part of the intestine is incapacitated and unable to work as it should.

Many hernias are repaired using open surgery techniques. However minimally-invasive hernia repair may be appropriate and best in some cases. Let our experts discuss the details with you to help you choose the right approach. Minimally-invasive hernia repair is regularly recommended for those seeking:

  • A potentially less painful outcome than with an open hernia repair.
  • A quicker return to work and a normal lifestyle.
  • An easier repair of bilateral inguinal hernias
  • A reduction in the chances of a central hernia re-occurring, and a reduction in potential complications.

Regrettably, minimally-invasive hernia repair is not available or suitable for all patients. In this case, a doctor may recommend open hernia surgery rather than a minimally-invasive procedure. Patients may receive such a recommendation for open hernia repair when:

  • The patient has significant scar tissue at the site of the hernia from previous abdominal surgery.
  • The surgeon view of the patient’s internal organs with the laparoscope is obscured.
  • The patient experiences problems with bleeding during the operation.
  • The hernia is very large and has many organs involved.

What can I expect on the day of my minimally-invasive hernia repair?

Most hernia-repair procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. This means you will not spend the night in the hospital, you will instead return home the same day as the surgery. However, you will not be alert enough after the surgery to drive yourself home. As such we require that you arrange for friends or family to help transport you back home. In some instances when the patient is having a ventral hernia repaired they may need to stay in the hospital overnight pending an individual assessment.

Your hernia may be repaired with monitored sedation or general anesthesia. When you arrive at the hospital you will receive medication either by a mask or IV to “put you under” or make you lose consciousness when a monitored sedation is performed by the anesthesiologist. Some other hernia surgery may require you to be completely under general anesthesia. You will not feel any pain during the surgery and when you wake up you will have no memory of its occurrence.

Once you are asleep, the surgeon will make small incisions in the skin of your abdomen, and pass the laparoscope and other instruments through these incisions. The sensor in the tip of the laparoscope allows the surgeon to see inside your abdomen, then the repair will take place. Once the hernia is pushed back into place, the surgeon places a small piece of surgical mesh in that location and secures it to help prevent future hernias at the same location.

Once the repair is completed, the surgeon removes the instruments, the laparoscope, and tubes from your incisions.

How long is the recovery time after minimally-invasive hernia repair?

The recovery from a minimally-invasive hernia repair is relatively quick. You will require time in the recovery room for the effects of the surgical medication to wear off. In some cases, (on an individual basis), a patient may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

The timetable for returning to normal day-to-day operations will depend on the severity and the type of your specific hernia. In general, recovery from a ventral hernia repair takes longer than recovery from an inguinal hernia repair.

Before you’re discharged from the hospital, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding showering, driving, waling upstairs, sex, lifting, and returning to work.

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