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Among the most prevalent forms of surgery is abdominal wall hernia repair. As per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 1 million hernia repairs are done every year in the United States, with an estimated global total of 20 million. Because hernia repairs are so common, it’s essential for people to understand their choices for surgery, anesthesia, and postoperative pain treatment.

While hernia repair surgery is frequent and normally reliable and safe, it’s essential to know the complications and healing period if you or your loved ones are planning for it.

What Is Hernia Repair Surgery?

A specialist surgeon performs hernia surgery in an outpatient surgery center or a hospital. Children and adults can have the operation, and it normally takes about an hour or two to finish.

You may be prescribed one of three different types of anesthesia, based on a variety of circumstances like the surgical method used to treat the hernia and if the surgery is planned or urgent.

  • General anesthesia
  • Regional (spinal) anesthesia
  • Local anesthesia with sedation

Main Hernia Symptoms

An obvious lump or growth, as well as possible irritation or pain, is a common sign of most hernias. The lump or swelling may or may not be visible at all times; for example, it may disappear when you lean back. When you’re standing, working, or lifting large objects, your symptoms may get severe. A doctor can usually diagnose a hernia during a medical examination, but imaging may be required in some cases.

Because hiatal hernia symptoms do not generate a bulge, there is an exception to the usual pattern. However, Hiatal hernias can induce symptoms like heartburn, stomach cramps, and eating or liquid regurgitation, which are commonly treated with medicine.

How to Prepare for Hernia surgery? 

Your surgeon will give you information on how to plan for your hernia surgery treatment once you’ve planned it. 

These instructions may include:

  • On the day of your procedure, dress comfortably and casually.
  • Before surgery, you should stop having some medications, such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for at least a week.
  • Prior to surgery, you should refrain from eating for a duration of time (depends on the surgical technique and type of anesthesia used).
  • Make arrangements for someone to drive you home right after surgery.
  • If you need to go to the hospital, bring your personal belongings. 

Types of hernia surgery:

Your hernia will require surgery to be repaired. Open surgery and laparoscopic surgery are two different forms of hernia procedures. Your doctor will discuss the best kind of hernia surgery for you.

Laparoscopic surgery

Your surgeon will create several minor incisions in your belly during laparoscopic surgery. In order for the surgeon to examine your organs, your abdomen will be filled with air. A small, illuminated scope called a laparoscope will be inserted into the opening by your surgeon. They’ll use the other incisions to inject tools to fix the hernia.

Open surgery

Your surgeon will make a big incision in your abdominal wall around the hernia to extract damaged tissue and fat. They may also put a mesh patch to your abdominal wall to stabilize the weakening spots. The mesh patch will be applied to your abdomen and will repair the hole or weak spot underneath it. Your inner abdominal wall will eventually swallow this patch.

It will take approximately 3 hours for your surgery to be completed.

Manage pain after hernia surgery

Hernia procedures seldom result in severe postoperative pain, and most pain may be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers including acetaminophen (Tylenol or other brands) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.). Opioids can be used to support these pain medications, however, this is not always needed.

Limiting opioid consumption helps to prevent undesirable side effects including urination issues following hernia surgery, which have been reported in a small percentage of people after inguinal hernia repair. Urinary retention after surgery is more common in adults over 50, especially men.

Taking medicines as prescribed before a surgery, particularly those for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is characterized by prostate enlargement, can help reduce urine retention after surgery.

Under physician supervision, steps such as taking acetaminophen for pain and a modest dosage of promethazine for nausea may be taken prior to surgery to reduce postoperative discomfort and nausea. If you’re not sure about these solutions, talk to your medical anesthesiologist.

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