An In-Depth Guide to Inguinal Hernia Surgery

An In-Depth Guide to Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Inguinal Hernia Surgery is one of the most common general surgeries. A hernia occurs when the soft tissue pushes through a weak place in the surrounding connective tissue. Hernias generally don’t get better naturally; instead, they tend to get bigger. If left untreated, hernias can lead to life-threatening complications. This complication explains why doctors often recommend surgery. However, a hernia does not need immediate treatment - it depends on the size and symptoms.

In the United States, inguinal hernia surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries, with approximately 800,000 surgeries annually. Most of these surgeries are quick, with regular results that include the patient going home the same day. When discussing surgical treatments,  studies show that open and laparoscopic surgery effectively repair inguinal hernias with equal success rates and complications. This blog will provide an in-depth understanding of inguinal hernia surgery.

Inguinal Hernia Surgery

An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin area. For men, it happens when a loop of the intestine presses through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, emerging into the testicles and causing pressure. For women, the hernia may occur where the round ligament passes through the abdominal wall. Inguinal hernia surgery is used to repair this specific type of hernia within the groin area.

Inguinal hernia surgery is commonly performed under anesthesia. The procedure can be done through open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. The choice of surgical technique depends on various factors, such as the hernia’s size, the patient’s health, and the surgeon's preference.

Causes of Inguinal Hernia

As previously stated, an inguinal hernia is caused by a muscle weakness in the groin area that allows tissues to protrude through the abdominal wall. Several factors can contribute to this weakness, including:

  • Hereditary Weakness
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Conditions

It's important to note that some people may have no identifiable risk factors for inguinal hernias, while others may have multiple risk factors.

Conditions That Can Lead to Inguinal Hernia

Despite risk factors, inguinal Hernia can still happen to anyone. However, certain concerning conditions can serve as an additional trigger for an inguinal hernia, such as

1. Hereditary

Genetic abnormalities of collagen fibers in muscles and fascia could increase the risk of hernia formation.

2. Obesity

Obesity increases the risk of hernia formation, especially after routine abdominal surgery. This condition also increases the risk of hernia recurrence after inguinal hernia surgery.

3. Weight-lifting

Lifting heavy weights regularly at work can increase intra-abdominal pressure leading to hernia formation.

4. Smoking

Smoking can increase the risk of hernia. Smoking is also associated with decreased ability for wound healing and increases the risk of hernia complications post-surgery.

5. Bowel issues

The straining associated with constipation severely increases intra-abdominal pressure, increasing the risk of hernia formation.

6. Surgery

Hernias at the incision after abdominal or pelvic surgery are called surgical hernias. Factors that increase the risk of hernia post-surgery include wound infection, emergency surgery, and constipation.

7. Diabetes

Diabetic patients experience difficulties with healing. After surgery, if diabetes is poorly controlled, the closure of the muscle and fascia layers will not heal well, resulting in a hernia.

Who Is More Affected by Inguinal Hernia?

Men are more at risk of inguinal hernias than women. Research suggests that around 25% of men and 2% of women experience this condition. Inguinal hernias can occur at any age, from infants to the elderly. However, they are more common in older adults.

Certain factors can increase the risk of inguinal hernias, such as genetic conditions, heavy straining, obesity, and diabetes. Men with a history of inguinal hernia surgery are also at higher risk of developing the condition again. Not everyone with these risk factors will develop an inguinal hernia, and some people with no identifiable risk factors may still develop one.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Inguinal Hernia

Diagnosis Options

The diagnosis of inguinal hernia surgery starts with a physical examination. The doctor may ask the patient about their symptoms and medical history during the exam. They may also perform a visual examination and feel the area around the groin to check the tissue. These tests can help determine the hernia's size and location and whether it can require a surgical procedure or not.

Additionally, tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may also be ordered to diagnose or to rule out other potential underlying conditions. If surgery is recommended, the healthcare provider may refer the patient to a surgeon specializing in hernia repair for further evaluation and treatment.

Treatment Options

The treatment options depend on several factors. However, specific treatment options include:

  • If the hernia is small and not causing significant symptoms, a healthcare provider may suggest that it does not require major treatment.
  • Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, ceasing or avoiding heavy lifting, and managing constipation can help prevent future or accentuated hernias.
  • Most commonly, the decision is to pursue treatment through surgery. There are two types of surgery: open hernia repair and laparoscopic. Both procedures involve pushing the tissue back into the abdominal cavity and strengthening the wall.

During open surgery, the surgeon makes a single incision in the groin area and repairs the hernia by pushing the protruding tissue back into place and reinforcing the weak area with a mesh patch. This is the traditional and most common type of surgery for inguinal hernias.

In laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are made in the stomach to insert a laparoscope among other surgical instruments to repair the hernia. After the surgery, the patient is usually put under observation for recovery. The recovery time varies depending on the surgical technique and the patient's overall health.

Get the Effective Treatment at Far North Surgery

If left untreated, Inguinal Hernia can create serious, life-threatening complications. But under effective care, the condition is completely safe. We have a team of highly-competent surgeons who have collaborated with renowned specialists to offer holistic medical care to all of our patients, making us the trusted name for inguinal hernia surgery. Dr. Madhu Prasad, the recipient of the Anchorage Awards for Best Cancer Treatment, serves with the team which further makes Far North Surgery a credible name.

Far North Surgery is a surgical unit with a highly skilled team of surgeons and medical professionals dedicated to providing the best treatments to our patients. Whether you need a routine procedure or a complex surgery, we have the expertise to ensure you receive the best care. Book your appointment today.

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