Hernia Surgery in Atlanta
A hernia is the weakening of the muscle or tissue wall whereby an organ pushes through and causes the wall to tear or open. Most hernias are not life threatening, however, they do not heal on their own.
Surgical repair is required before a hernia advances to a more serious condition known as strangulation, where intestinal tissue becomes trapped and can lead to the tissue becoming infected or dead.
Types of Hernias
Constituting approximately 70 percent of all hernias, inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. These hernias occur when the intestines protrude through a tear or weak area in the lower portion of the abdomen in the inguinal canal.
An inguinal hernia is more common in men than women, as a man’s testicles travel through the inguinal canal soon after birth, and if the canal does not close behind them, it increases the likelihood of a hernia in the future. Other types of hernias include Hiatal, Umbilical, and Incisional hernias.
Causes of a Hernia
The causes of hernias are usually muscle weakness, strain, or a combination of the two. Muscle weakness may occur as a result of a congenital defect, aging, coughing, or from an injury or prior surgery.
Hernia Surgery and Treatment
For smaller hernias that do not produce symptoms, your doctor may want to monitor your hernia for worsening symptoms and/or complications. Uncomfortable symptoms of a hernia, including bulging of the abdominal wall and a burning sensation, may be managed by changing your diet to avoid large meals, not lying down or bending over shortly after a meal, and keeping your body weight in check.
If you have a large hernia or if it is causing discomfort, your doctor may recommend that it be surgically repaired. The most common surgical repair is to use surgical mesh to patch the hole or weakened muscle. The two types of surgery to accomplish this type of repair are laparoscopic and open surgery.
Laparoscopic Surgery for Hernias
Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive and involves the use of a small camera and tiny surgical equipment that is inserted in a few small incisions. Since this type of surgery is less damaging to the tissue, the recovery time is much shorter than open surgery.
Open Surgery for Hernias
Most doctors however prefer open surgery to laparoscopic surgery because the chance of a hernia recurrence is lower. The downside of open surgery is a longer recovery. The normal recovery time for an open surgery hernia repair is four to six weeks.
The surgery involves a prescribed pain relief, commonly general anesthesia, by the anesthesiologist, so you will not feel any pain during the surgery. To identify the hernia/sac that contains the bulging intestine, the surgeon makes a small incision in the skin to identify the hernia/sac that contains the bulging intestine. The surgeon positions the intestine inside the hernia sac to behind the muscle wall, which is its normal position. In order to complete the repair, the surgeon uses stitches or a synthetic mesh material to reinforce the muscle wall.
The goal of hernia surgery is to repair the weak tissue in your abdominal wall so that the intestine and other tissue cannot push through the hernia sac. Generally, the smaller the hernia and the earlier the repair, the more rapid recovery and less trauma from surgery there is. Therefore, it is beneficial to seek medical care sooner rather than later if you suspect you have a hernia.