Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
Laparoscopic surgery to repair a hernia is a minimally invasive procedure used to fix tears in the abdominal wall using small incisions, a camera, and a patch of surgical mesh. One of our hernia specialists will determine if you are a candidate for this surgery, or if a traditional open surgical approach would be more beneficial to you and your particular hernia case.
Advantages of Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
While open hernia repair surgery has been a standard in the medical field for many years, it is not without its drawbacks. Not every patient or their situation is ideal for an open repair, primarily due to their individual risk factors both before and after surgery.
Having a hernia repaired through the utilization of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery can provide the following benefits:
- Reduced postoperative pain
- Shortened or no hospital stay
- Ability to return to work and normal activities more quickly
- Reduced potential for infection
- Improved cosmetic results
What Happens During a Laparoscopic Procedure
The laparoscopic hernia repair procedure uses a laparoscope that is equipped with a special type of medical-grade camera that transmits images from inside the abdomen to a screen in front of your surgeon. With this improved visibility of the patient’s inner tissues and structures, the surgeon is able to carefully manipulate their surgical instruments to make the repair.
In order to make room for these instruments and the laparoscope, a harmless gas is injected into the abdomen to inflate it. This provides more room for the hernia surgeon to work as well view the surgical site. Typically, three or four one quarter inch incisions are made in order to insert the laparoscope and surgical instruments.
The hernia is then repaired from behind the abdominal wall and includes the placement of a small piece of surgical mesh over the hernia defect, which is held in place using surgical staples. This operation is usually performed with general anesthesia or occasionally with regional or spinal anesthesia to avoid any potential discomfort that the patient may feel during the procedure.
The Recovery Period
As mentioned, laparoscopic hernia repair is associated with significantly shorter healing times than those of an open surgery. Patients of Michigan Hernia Surgery will generally stay overnight in our care for at least one evening to be monitored regularly and make sure that the procedure was completely successful. Once our physician has evaluated the individual and the immediate results of their laparoscopic hernia repair and determined that it is safe to do so, patients may return home to continue with their recovery.
Many of our patients report feeling some discomfort early in the healing process, typically within the first 24-36 hours following their procedure. After this period has ended, individuals should begin to gradually feel better each day until they reach the point of full recovery.
How to Care for Your Incisions
Be sure to carefully follow all aftercare instructions given by your surgeon. Although laparoscopic surgery will create much smaller incisions compared to an open surgery, these openings in the skin can still become infected if they are not maintained properly.
Patients should utilize the following tips when dressing their wounds after laparoscopic hernia repair:
- Thoroughly clean the area with sterile materials
- Keep the incisions covered
- Take any antibiotics or other prescribed medications exactly as directed
- Avoid direct sunlight on your incisions, as this will create a darker colored scar
- Contact Michigan Hernia Surgery immediately if you notice significant bleeding, discoloration, or swelling of the surgical site
When to Return to Normal Activity Levels
Generally, patients will be able to enjoy regular activities by the third or fourth day following their laparoscopic hernia repair. It is absolutely vital to avoid any sort of overexertion during the first few weeks after surgery, as this can aggravate the surgical site and lead to severe complications.
Before you try to jump back into your regular routine, be sure to discuss any changes in your activity levels with your surgeon beforehand to ensure that you are not putting yourself at risk for hernia recurrence or injury.