Someone who has a hernia may have heard that they will need to have surgery to repair this issue. While this is true, this is a multi-step process. The first step is to diagnose the hernia. The first step in diagnosing a hernia is to conduct a physical exam. During this exam, the doctor will take a look at the bulge and try to figure out where, anatomically, this bulge is coming from. This will help doctors make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, the doctor might order a CT scan or an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. A hernia is a bulge that includes tissue that has protruded through the muscular wall that normally contains it. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment process can begin.
First, it is important to figure out if the hernia needs to be repaired emergently or if the repair process can wait. If the hernia is reducible, then there is still time to plan for a surgical repair that takes place at a time that works well for the patient’s schedule. A reducible hernia means that the bulge can still be pushed back behind the muscular wall through which it protrudes. If the hernia is not reducible, then this needs to be repaired urgently. It is only a matter of time before the hernia becomes strangulated. Some of the signs that a hernia is strangulated include constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, and discoloration of the bulge. A strangulated hernia is a medical and surgical emergency.
Once it is time to treat the hernia, the doctor will take the patient to the operating room. There are two different types of hernia repair. The first is called an open repair, which is the traditional method of repairing hernias. In this operation, the surgeon will provide either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Then, the surgeon will make an incision around the hernia sac and push the tissue back into the abdomen. After this, the surgeon will sew the weakened area. Often, the surgeon will reinforce the repaired muscle with hernia mesh. This mesh will prevent the muscle from tearing again in the future. There have been some issues with certain types of hernia mesh, leading to more than one hernia mesh lawsuit. Therefore, the doctor will make sure to use hernia mesh that has been proven to be both safe and effective. After the hernia has been repaired, the doctor will close the opening with stitches, surgical glue, or staples.
The other type of hernia repair is called a laparoscopic hernia. Instead of making larger incisions, the surgeon will use tiny incisions through which he or she will insert his or her cameras and equipment. While this still requires anesthesia, the major benefit of this repair process is that the incisions are far smaller. This means that the recovery process is much quicker. The surgeon will use gas to inflate the abdomen so that he or she can get a clear view of what is going on. While there might still be some scars that develop following this surgery, the scars or only a cm or two in length. This means that patients can go home quicker. Finally, this type of surgical repair may still require hernia mesh to reinforce the repair location. Again, doctors will meet with patients to make sure they are using the right mesh before the surgery takes place.
After the procedure has finished, most patients will have to spend at least one night in the hospital. It may take a while for the bowels of the patient to wake up. This is because the bowels will stop moving as the surgeon manipulates them and pushes them back behind the muscles of the abdomen. Once the bowels start to wake up, it will be time to talk about going home. In addition, the doctor will have to make sure that infections do not develop at the site of the surgical repair. Some of the signs of an infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, and pus coming from the surgical site. Finally, many patients who require surgical repairs will end up with pain for a few days. This might require narcotics; however, these opioids should only be taken for a few days. Long-term use of these medications could lead to addiction.
This is a brief overview of the manner in which hernias are repaired. Anyone who has questions or concerns about a bulge on their body might have a hernia. It is important to seek medical care as quickly as possible to talk about the repair process. This will set patients up for a successful recovery.