Laparoscopic Surgery for Hernia
How is laparoscopic surgery done on a hernia?
As always, anesthesia, usually general anesthesia, is administered first. A breathing tube is often administered, so the air filler doesn’t obstruct the lungs. It is followed by the incision on or just under the navel. The area is then inflated with air so the surgeon can view the organs closely. The laparoscope, or the camera’s thin scope, is inserted into the incision. Other smaller incisions are then made under the belly to insert the different tools needed to remove the hernia sac carefully. A mesh is placed so the belly wall won’t collapse or the tissue edges are sewn together. The incisions are then stitched back together. The stitches should dissolve on their own over time.
Who is a candidate for the laparoscopy technique for the hernia?
Those who have what is called the strangulated hernia. In that case, the tissue inside the abdomen bulges out through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Then more tissue gets trapped, and it can get to the point where the blood circulation is cut off. This can cause bulging, swelling, and a high amount of pain. In rare cases, it’s been known to cause gangrene, septicemia, and severe bleeding.
However, as it currently stands, laparoscopic surgery is not recommended for patients with:
- Bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia or who are taking blood thinners
- Lung diseases, such as lung cancer. The air used to inflate the area of the initial incision may further obstruct breathing.
- A lot of scar tissue from multiple surgeries in or under the navel area. It makes minimally invasive surgeries, like laparoscopy, more difficult.
- Extreme obesity
- No tolerance for general anesthesia
How long does recovery from a laparoscopic hernia usually last?
Most patients can go home on the same day of the surgery. If the surgery is nonemergent before patients are discharged, all pain must be stabilized. In addition, they have to have urinated and be able to keep food and drink down. Most can resume light activities after one or two weeks. However, strenuous activities should wait until four weeks after the surgery.
It is usually recommended that patients take pain medication as prescribed for about the first day or two after surgery. Also, to walk as much as possible but avoid the more strenuous activities, such as running, until four weeks have passed. Some swelling in the groin area is normal, but if it gets severe, please come back to us as soon as possible.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects are rare. However, in men, there’s the risk of pain or damage in the epididymis-or spermatic cord. The latter can affect their ability to father children. It’s even rarer, but severe injuries to the testicle can also cause testicular atrophy. Fluid build-up in the scrotum can also occur as well as in the abdomen or inguinal canal. The latter is the passage through which the testicles descent in males and the ligament descends in females.
If there is a slip in the usage of the tools, injury to the organs, blood vessels, or nerves may occur. Numbness or pain in the thigh area is equally possible. There’s also a chance of not being able to urinate or of injury to the bladder. Depending on the severity of the damage, permanent catheterization may be needed.
The most common side effect is scar tissue in the surgical area. Infections from the mesh or stitches may also occur due to anything from the mesh not being put in correctly to swelling. Patients who experience fever, worsening pain, chills, or pus draining from the incision area, are urged to come back and see us as soon as possible or go to the nearest emergency.
Any patient who qualifies for laparoscopic hernia surgery is urged to contact us for a consultation today. Dr. Garcia has 15 years of experience with robotic, laparoscopy, and open surgery techniques so patients can trust that they will be in good hands.