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Hernia Surgery

  • What is a hernia surgery?

    Hernia types

    Hernia is a condition when an internal organ or body part protrudes, creating a bulge as it presses against the muscle or tissue that normally holds it in place. Most hernias occur within the abdominal cavity, but it can also form in other areas.

    Types of hernia include:

    • Inguinal hernia

      Inguinal hernia is when fatty tissue or a part of the intestine pokes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. It affects men and women differently, and affects men more often than women. In men, the inguinal canal is a passageway for the spermatic cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains the round ligament that provides support for the womb.
    • Femoral hernia

      In a femoral hernia, fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. It is much less common than inguinal hernias and mainly affects older women.
    • Umbilical hernia

      Umbilical hernia occurs when fatty tissue or part of the intestine pushes through the abdomen near the navel (belly button).
    • Hiatal hernia, also known as hiatus hernia

      This is when part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm.

    Other forms of hernia include:

    • Incisional hernia

      After an abdominal or pelvic operation, an incisional hernia may occur when tissue protrudes through the site of the abdominal incision or scar.
    • Epigastric hernia

      In an epigastric hernia, fatty tissue protrudes through the abdominal area between the navel and lower part of the sternum (breastbone).
    • Spigelian hernia

      This occurs when the intestine pushes through the abdomen at the side of the abdominal muscle, below the navel.
    • Diaphragmatic hernia

      In this form of hernia, organs in the abdomen move into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm.

    As hernias do not get better on their own, surgery is often the only treatment option.

  • Hernia surgery may be recommended if the size of the hernia is causing symptoms. For example:

    • Tissues can become incarcerated or trapped in the abdominal wall. Left untreated, this can lead to strangulation of the hernia.
    • Strangulated hernia means that blood supply to the protruding tissue has been cut off, which can lead to permanent tissue damage. Hence, it is a surgical emergency.

    Consult your doctor if you suffer from an abnormal lump or a bulge at the groin area, or if you suspect you have a hernia. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and advise you to have a surgery to repair your hernia.

  • There are 2 types of hernia surgery that may be performed. Your doctor will advise you on the most suitable option for you, based on the size, type and location of the hernia. Your health and age will also be considered.

    Preparing for a hernia surgery

    Prior to either form of surgery, your doctor may advise tests to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery. This includes checking for any conditions that may make surgery inadvisable.

    For 1 week prior to surgery, you will be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

    During a hernia surgery

    • Open surgery

      This is performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision where the hernia is located. Next, the protruding tissue will be gently pushed back in its proper place. If this is not possible, the hernia will be tied off or removed. To prevent it from recurring, the weakened muscle wall is stitched and sometimes reinforced with a mesh for additional. support.
    • Laparoscopic surgery

      Also performed under general anaesthesia, this form of surgery involves smaller incisions when compared to open surgery. Using a flexible tool called a laparoscope, which has an attached camera, the surgeon will insert surgical tools via these incisions and use the camera view to perform the same function as open surgery.

    After a hernia surgery

    Once at home, be sure to practice good hygiene to prevent infection and avoid heavy lifting for at least two weeks. Speak to your doctor about what activities you can perform safely, and inform your doctor immediately if there are signs of infection or increased pain.

    Activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure can cause a hernia to recur. This includes certain health conditions too, such as obesity, chronic cough and constipation. Taking steps to avoid these things can help to lower the risk of a hernia recurring.

    Recovery period for a hernia surgery

    Recovery time varies from person to person, depending on the type of hernia and type of procedure. Generally, patients recover more quickly following laparoscopic surgery and may be allowed to return home on the same day. However, if additional procedures were required, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days.

    Risks/complications of a hernia surgery

    Hernia is a common condition and hernia surgery is considered to be safe. However, all forms of surgery are associated with potential risks such as infection and blood clots, and there is the possibility that hernia may recur after surgery.

  • Our team of experienced general surgeons and staff at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals are well-trained in performing hernia surgery to fix a hernia that is causing uncomfortable symptoms or limiting your activities.

    Take your first step towards better health today, learn about your treatment options, and experience quality and customised healthcare with us.

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