What is Herniorrhaphy?

Herniorrhaphy is the surgical operation done to repair an indirect or direct inguinal hernia. Herniorrhaphy procedures can be performed by an open technique or a laparoscopic technique.

Effects of Herniorrhaphy

Herniorrhaphy or any hernia repair procedure is done to relieve pain, swelling, bulges, and for the prevention of complications such as restricted blood flow or blocked intestines.

Candidates for Herniorrhaphy

Herniorrhaphy is recommended for those who have large bulges through a small hole (due to restricted blood flow or blocked intestines), painful hernia, or other symptoms that interfere with lifestyle.

Your Consultation

During consultation, the doctor may advise you to stop taking aspirin and ibuprofen. The doctor will also tell you whether you need to have blood drawn.

Your physician may suggest you take a sleeping pill the night before surgery. You should not eat or drink anything (even water) before the Herniorrhaphy. The doctor will advise you when to start fasting.

The Herniorrhaphy Procedure

There are now various techniques in repairing hernias. Ask your surgeon for the best procedure for your needs.

The Conventional Method begins with the surgeon making an incision over the site of the hernia. Then the protruding tissue is returned to the abdominal cavity, and the sac that has formed is taken out. The surgeon then repairs the hole or weakness in the abdominal wall by sewing strong surrounding muscle over it.

The Tension-free Mesh Technique starts off by making an incision at the site of the hernia and then a piece of mesh is inserted to cover the area of the abdominal wall defect without sewing together the surrounding muscles. The recovery from this technique is fast and the chance of recurrence is low. The mesh used is safe and generally well-accepted by the body’s natural tissues.

The Laparoscopic Method involves the use of a laparoscope, a long metal tube with a fiber optic light source and a telescopic eyepiece, which is attached to a TV monitor. This technique begins by inserting the laparoscope into the abdominal cavity through a small incision and is then used to view the hernia in the abdominal wall while the surgeon repairs the hernia through additional tubes inserted into the abdomen through separate incisions. A general anesthetic is usually required for this technique.

Recovery

Pain varies in different patients, and discomfort depends on the location and type of hernia repaired, as well as the technique used for the repair. There would usually be a slight difficulty in walking for the first few hours after the operation, as well as climbing the stairs for the first couple of days after the procedure. Make sure to not wet the incision site during bathing. Sexual activity is also discouraged for the first week or two. Your surgeon will advise you regarding heavy lifting, jogging, or doing strenuous exercise depending on the type and degree of difficulty it took to do the repair. You should be able to drive your car within a few days after the repair. Recovery period lasts from 1 to 6 weeks.

Risks

The risks in such repairs include infection and bleeding. In this operation, there is also a risk of injury to the intestine or bladder. Scar tissue can also develop. Antibiotics will be prescribed for any infection.

Also, since the laparoscopic method of hernia repair is relatively new, the complications are not yet well-defined as the complications associated with the other methods of Herniorrhaphy.

Back to the top

FAQs

What are inguinal hernias?

Inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia and it has an occurrence rate of about 25% in men and 2% in women. There are two types of inguinal hernia, direct hernia and indirect hernia. The direct hernia develops when the intestine passes through the muscle layers of the abdominal wall into the groin. While an indirect hernia occurs when the intestine passes through the groin and goes down into the scrotum.

Back to the top

What are the signs and symptoms of inguinal hernia?

Symptoms of inguinal hernias differ. The onset is sometimes gradual, having no other symptoms other than the development of a bulge. Other times, the hernia will occur suddenly with a feeling that something has “given way,” coupled by pain or discomfort.

Signs and symptoms of inguinal hernias include visible bulges in the scrotum, groin, or abdominal wall; a feeling of weakness or pressure in the groin; a burning feeling at the bulge; and lastly, a gurgling feeling.

Back to the top

What causes inguinal hernia?

Most inguinal hernias in adults occur due to the strain on the abdominal muscles, which are weakened by age or by congenital factors. The types of activity associated with the appearance of an inguinal hernia include chronic constipation causing a strain on the abdomen while on the toilet; gains in weight causing an increase in pressure on the abdominal wall; lifting heavy objects; repeated attacks of coughing; and finally, sudden twists, pulls or muscle strains.

Back to the top

What happens if a hernia is left untreated?

A hernia is not dangerous in itself but there is a risk of it getting strangulated and even cut off the blood supply to the hernia that may cause fatal conditions like gangrene and peritonitis. A hernia that is not treated is likely to get larger and become more uncomfortable, and this may result in bowel obstruction.

Back to the top

How can I prevent hernias?

Prevention of congenital indirect hernias is not possible. But prevention of direct hernias is possible, as well as reducing the risk of recurrence of direct and indirect hernias just by maintaining body weight suitable for age and height; strengthening abdominal muscles through regular exercise; reducing abdominal pressure by avoiding constipation and build-up of excess body fluids, achieved by adopting a high-fiber, low-salt diet; and lifting heavy objects in a safe, low-stress way, using arm and leg muscles.

Back to the top