Suspect Hernia Symptoms?

Hernias are very common, occurring in one in 50 people. They usually become more evident in the presence of chronic cough, constipation, urinary obstruction, heavy lifting, ascites (fluid in abdomen), previous abdominal surgery, or obesity. Although they may stay the same size for many years, they do not resolve without surgical repair.

When the hernia is difficult to keep controlled, or is regularly painful, elective surgical repair is the most sensible course of action.

What is a Hernia?

When the muscle wall of the abdomen develops a gap, the organs inside can poke out, and sit underneath the skin. This can happen in the groin (an inguinal or femoral hernia), around the belly button, or at some other less common places. Sometimes old wounds can be the site of the gap, resulting in an inscisional hernia. These can be large, and require more extensive repair than is discussed in this article.

Some hernias occur inside the body: a hiatus hernia is a gap in the diaphragm, allowing the stomach to slip up into the chest and is often associated with reflux. This will be discussed in a separate article.

When contents of the abdomen are in the hernia sac, a lump can often be felt, and is often uncomfortable. Most people are able to gently massage the lump back inside the abdomen, but sometimes it can be more difficult. It is very rare for bowel to be caught in the hernia sac and cause a blockage, or compromise it’s own blood supply. However, if this does happen, the pain will drive the patient to seek emergency medical help, and prompt surgical attention will prevent rupture or infection.

How are Hernias Repaired?

Traditional repairs involved darning the defect with suture material, but current methods using mesh have a much lower rate of hernia recurrence.

There are several methods of placing the mesh. Open surgery involves placing the mesh directly and suturing it in place without tension on the muscles. Sometimes two layers are used to maximise effectiveness. Laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery involves pinning the mesh from inside the abdomen using three small wounds instead of one. It is most useful for patients with hernias on both sides, or when a previous open repair has failed.

Any operation comes with potential risks. Infection and bruising can occur, and very rarely, can require a return to theatre. Many people notice a small patch of numbness below the wound, which usually shrinks and disappears over several months. The risk of hernia recurrence is less than 2%. More rarely, chronic pain (from nerve entrapment or inflamed sutures) can require further management.

Most people choose to have their repair under general anaesthetic, but it can usually be done under local anaesthetic where desirable. In order to reduce the chance of infection formal operating theatres are used and admission can be just for the day or require an overnight stay.

Contact us Now

Our care is unique in that we provide highly specialised professionals all at one location to support you in your surgery.

Our team includes:

– Specialised Bariatric Surgeons (both male and female)
– General Surgeons (both male and female)
– Bariatric GPs (both male and female)
– Accredited Practising Dietitians
– Specialised Psychologists
– Exercise Physiologists