What You Should Know About Robotic Inguinal Hernia Repair
A skilled surgeon can perform robotic inguinal hernia surgery using the Da Vinci robotics platform, which is minimally invasive. Some benefits of robotic surgery are less blood loss and quicker recovery time. Dr. Garcia has excellent skills in performing these procedures. This article will discuss the surgical procedure, risks, and benefits of robotic inguinal hernia repair and Post-operative Care.
What is a robotic inguinal hernia repair?
Inguinal hernias are a common health issue, usually occurring in the groin area in both men and women. They occur when abdominal tissue pushes through an opening in the abdominal wall. This causes a collection of abdominal fat and tissue to bulge into the groin region, which can become trapped against bones or other body parts.
There are two types of hernias. An indirect inguinal hernia occurs when abdominal tissue pushes down and through the inguinal canal. An indirect hernia is more common in men because their inguinal canals are larger. A direct inguinal hernia occurs when the abdominal tissue bulges up through the opening in the abdominal wall. This type of hernia is more common in women because their abdominal wall openings are smaller.
Inguinal hernias occur in people of all ages. However, they are more common in those who are overweight and middle-aged or older. Many physicians believe that inguinal hernias may be caused by genetics, family history, or lifestyle choices such as smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.
Robotic Inguinal Hernia Repair Procedure
The robotic procedure for repairing inguinal hernias is similar to traditional open surgical procedures; however, it has several advantages. The procedure is done through two or three small incisions instead of one large incision. The incisions are made on the patient’s side, and very few muscles are cut during surgery. Most patients can return to full activity within a week after the surgery, while they usually take 3-4 weeks to fully recover from open surgeries conducted with larger incisions.
Most patients are awake during their robotic procedure, with sedation only necessary if the patient struggles with pain and anxiety or if the procedure is extremely simple. Patients often report feeling stronger and more confident in their bodies after robotic inguinal hernia repair because they do not have to rely as much on their internal organs to move around. The surgery takes less time than traditional open surgeries and recovery times are quick and easy to deal with.
Risks of Robotic Inguinal Hernia Repair
Although infection rates with robotic surgery are not much higher than other types of surgery, there is a chance of infection after the procedure. As with all surgeries, there is the risk that some bacteria could enter the surgical site and cause an infection, which would need to be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, an infection can also lead to serious complications, such as blood clotting.
2. Blood Clotting
A hematoma is a blood collection outside the body’s normal flow. Blood clotting after surgery is a normal part of healing; however, it can be dangerous. It can occur if too many clots or the blood vessels around the incision fail to close. If a patient has a blowout, the clot can leak through their skin and cause a serious infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics for them to heal properly.
Post-operative pain is a common complaint for patients, especially after open surgeries. Pain is often caused by swelling and bruising of the tissues in the surgery site. It can vary from mild discomfort to extreme and long-lasting pain. The discomfort after surgery can be dealt with using over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, usually administered by a doctor or other medical professional.
4. Blood Loss
Blood loss is a risk for all patients. Blood loss during surgery can be caused by internal bleeding during the procedure or bleeding after the surgery is finished. A blood transfusion may be necessary if too much of the patient’s blood has been lost; however, this is rare.
5. Excessive Scarring
Scarring or keloid skin scarring is common after surgeries and can be caused by many factors. It can be minimized after surgery by applying lotions and creams daily to the incisions, or it can be prevented by using medications that control the body’s immune response.
Benefits of robotic inguinal hernia repair
1. Faster Recovery Times
Robotic surgery takes less time than traditional open surgeries. Patients can return to routine activity faster than those who have undergone open surgical procedures and often report feeling stronger, more energetic, and more confident after recovery.
2. Easier Incisions
The small incisions are less invasive than traditional incisions and cause less swelling, bruising, and pain after the surgery.
3. Fewer scars
Because the incisions are smaller and there is less cutting and stitching of the surrounding skin, patients often have less noticeable scars left after their robotic inguinal hernia repair surgery.
4. Less Pain after Surgery: with a lower risk of injury to the patient’s internal organs, there is less pain overall, and patients report feeling stronger, more energetic, and more confident after their recovery period than those who have undergone traditional open surgical procedures.
5. Faster Return to Routine Activity: patients can return to routine activity sooner after the surgery and feel more energetic, confident, and secure with their bodies.
6. Fewer Complications
As stated earlier in this article, patients are less likely to suffer from infection, blood clotting, or excessive scarring because the surgery is done through a smaller incision rather than one large incision.
7. Shorter Surgery Time
Surgery time is cut down from 2 or 3 hours to 1 hour, leaving patients less time to suffer from anxiety and pain from the surgery.
8. Increased Accuracy
Robotic surgical systems use the latest technology, which allows for increased precision during the surgery, thus minimizing complications and improving recovery times for the patient.
Post-operative Care and Instructions
1. Pain Management: take pain medication as prescribed.
2. Antibiotics: antibiotics are no longer given routinely after surgery; however, they will be prescribed if there is any sign of infection.
3. Wound Care: showering and baths may be resumed 24- 48 hours after surgery. Therefore the wound is covered so that it can heal properly without being exposed to anything that could cause an infection or irritation of the incision site.
4. Surgical drain: a surgical drain (also called a cystostomy) is sometimes used to drain excess fluid from the incision site after surgery. It will be removed on the day of discharge
5. Sterile dressing: you can keep your dressing on for as long as necessary, but change it every 4 hours for the first 24 hours and every 8-12 hours for the following 48 hours.
6. Compression garments: the hospital will provide a compression garment. It is important to wear it at all times, except when you shower or bathe.
7. Physical Activity: it is important to maintain physical activity once you leave the hospital to speed up your recovery. Activities such as gentle walking and light stationary cycling are recommended for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
After finding out about inguinal surgery, and its risks and benefits, potential patients are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Garcia. The board-certified surgeon serves South Florida and is happy to answer questions about robotic and laparoscopic procedures.