In this article below, Ms Daniela Zanotti, a highly experienced upper GI and general surgeon, outlines the main symptoms of a hernia before going to detail how a hernia is usually treated.
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
Usually, the first thing that patients notice is a lump in the groin. This lump could be completely asymptomatic, or, on the other hand, may cause a certain degree of discomfort or pain, usually during strenuous activities. Occasionally, patients experience problems passing urine or opening their bowels.
How is a hernia treated?
Small and asymptomatic hernias could be treated conservatively, with patients needing to be mindful of avoiding heavy lifting as much as possible. Sometimes, the hernia can be controlled with a truss (padded support belt), but, without surgery, the hernia will more than likely become larger and more symptomatic as time progresses.
When is surgery required for hernias?
Emergency surgery for hernias is required in case of complications such as bowel obstruction or incarceration (when the hernia can’t be reduced/pushed back into the abdomen).
An elective repair is strongly advised in symptomatic patients whenever the hernia has increased in size (becoming more symptomatic), if there have been episodes in which the hernia couldn’t be reduced easily, and in patients that are required to perform strenuous daily activities.
Can you explain how hernia surgery is performed?
Regardless of the approach used (open or laparoscopic), the main aim of an inguinal hernia repair is to get the hernia back inside the abdomen and to strengthen the muscle layer. This is achieved by inserting a synthetic mesh, to cover the weak area where the hernia passed through.
What is the recovery period like after hernia surgery?
It depends on the size of the hernia and whether the surgery was minimally invasive or not. On average though, it takes up to one week to recover from the operation.
During this period, patients can walk normally, although it might be painful going up and down stairs at the beginning. Depending on the type of job they have, patients should be able to return to work after two to four weeks.
A rest period of between four to six weeks from heavy lifting/sport is advised after surgery, and so some patients might require a prolonged time off work.
Does this procedure have a high success rate?
Inguinal hernia repair is a very common procedure and has a very high success rate. The risk of recurrence is less than two per cent. Complications are not frequent at all.
To book an appointment with Ms Daniela Zanotti, simply head on over to her Top Doctors profile today.