Hernia Repair

Hernia Repair

(Herniorrhaphy; Repair, Hernia)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

Definition

A hernia is tissue that pushes through a weak part of the abdominal wall. Hernia repair is surgery to put the tissue back in its normal position.

Abdominal Hernia

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Reasons for Procedure

This is done to treat hernias that are large or cause pain.

Sometimes a hernia becomes trapped. This cuts off blood flow to the tissue. It is called a strangulated hernia. It needs surgery right away.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs such as the intestines or bladder
  • Nerve damage

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery

Anesthesia

The anesthesia used depends on how the repair is done. The doctor may give:

Description of Procedure

The surgery may be done one of two ways:

Open Surgery

An incision will be made in the belly. The tissue will be moved back into place. Weaker muscles may be sewn together. Mesh may be used to help create a new belly wall.

The incision will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be placed over the site.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Small incisions will be made around the site. A tube will be passed through one of the incisions. It will push gas into the belly. This will make it easier for the doctor to view the area. A camera will allow the doctor to see inside the belly. Other tools will be passed through the incisions. They will be used to repair the area. Tissue will be pushed back into place. The belly wall will be closed.

The incisions will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be placed over the site.

How Long Will It Take?

Less than 2 hours

Will It Hurt?

Pain and swelling are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care help

Average Hospital Stay

Most people will be able to go home the same day. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

After laparoscopic surgery, it may take about a week to recover. Open surgery may take a bit longer.

During recovery, you will need to avoid straining and heavy lifting.

At the Hospital

Right after the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicines.

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered

There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your incisions

At Home

It will take two weeks for the incision and muscles to fully heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time. You may need to delay return to work.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicine
  • Problems with urination including bleeding that does not go away

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES:

Americas Hernia Society
https://americasherniasociety.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
https://www.niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
https://www.cag-acg.org

References:

Groin hernia in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/groin-hernia-in-adults-and-adolescents. Accessed January 8, 2021.
Inguinal repair surgery information. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.sages.org/publications/patient-information/patient-information-for-laparoscopic-inguinal-hernia-repair-from-sages. Accessed January 8, 2021.
Kokotovic D, Bisgaard T, et al. Long-term recurrence and complications associated with elective incisional hernia repair. JAMA. 2016;316(15):1575-1582
Laparoscopic surgery for hernia repair. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/6905-laparoscopic-surgery-for-hernia-repair. Accessed January 8, 2021.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/8/2021

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