Hernias can develop due to weakened muscles in the abdominal area. Repeated strains and increased pressures on the abdominal and groin areas can cause a hernia. Some examples of strains include physical exertion, lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles, frequent coughing, frequent straining on the toilet due to constipation, obesity or pregnancy and the process of childbirth.
At Swedish, we provide many treatment options including open, laparoscopic and robotic hernia repairs. We prioritize minimizing pain, minimizing hospital stay, and getting patients back to their regular daily activities as soon as possible without sacrificing the integrity of the repair. We do this by utilizing minimally invasive techniques when possible, incorporating evidence-based medicine and the desires of the patient. We are deeply committed to patient safety and we strive to consistently provide the highest quality of surgical care.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that avoids the body trauma of a large incision. During a laparoscopic hernia repair:
- The surgeon makes three tiny incisions in the patient’s abdomen
- The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide to give the surgeon room to work
- Surgical instruments, a fiber optic light source and a tiny camera are inserted though the incisions
- The surgeon puts the protruding organ or tissue mass back into place and uses a synthetic mesh to repair the abdominal weakness
After a laparoscopic surgical repair, most patients go home the same day and return to normal activities within a week.
Because hernias frequently occur on both sides of the abdomen, laparoscopic surgery avoids the need for the two long incisions necessary in an open procedure.
If you have a very large hernia, or your intestine is pushed down into the scrotum, or you’ve had previous pelvic surgery, you may not be a candidate for a laparoscopic procedure.
Open surgery may be an option for patients who have large complex hernia.During traditional open surgery for hernia repair:
- The surgeon makes one incision (typically from 2 to 4 inches) in the abdominal wall
- The protruding tissue or organ is moved back into place
- The surgeon closes the abdominal wall and reinforces it with synthetic mesh
- The surgeon then closes the incision with several stitches
After an open hernia repair, patients typically go home the same day, but need to be on bed rest for at least a few days. Depending on the type of job you do, you may be away from work two weeks or more.
During robotic surgery, the surgeon controls a robot, making very small incisions and, like laparoscopic surgery, both techniques often result in shorter hospital stays, less usage of pain medication, and a quicker return to work.