A hernia is a protrusion of abdominal contents through a weakness in the abdominal wall.
The symptoms of a hernia depend on the size of the hernia and where it is. Typical symptoms include:
a bulge or lump in the groin or abdomen
pain, burning, aching, heaviness or discomfort, especially when coughing, straining or lifting
a pulling sensation around the lump or bulge
If you have a hernia which is growing larger or causing pain, your surgeon may decide it’s best to operate. They may repair your hernia by sewing the hole in the abdominal wall closed during surgery. This is commonly done by patching the hole with surgical mesh.
Common hernias by site
Laparoscopic hernia repair
Hernias can be repaired with either open or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. Laparoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera and miniaturized surgical equipment to repair the hernia using only a few small incisions. It’s also less damaging to the surrounding tissue.
During open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision close to the site of the hernia, and then pushes the bulging tissue back into the abdomen. They then sew the area shut, sometimes reinforcing it with surgical mesh. Finally, they close the incision.
Not all hernias are suitable for laparoscopic surgery. If your hernia requires an open surgical repair, your surgeon will work with you to determine which type of surgery is best for your condition.
After your surgery, you may experience pain around the surgical site. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to help ease this discomfort while you recover.
Be sure to carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions involving wound care. Contact them promptly if you notice any signs of infection such as fever, redness or drainage at the site, or pain that suddenly worsens.
Following your hernia repair, you may be unable to move around normally for several weeks. You’ll need to avoid any strenuous activity. Additionally, you should avoid lifting objects heavier than 2 kgs during this period. This is approximately the weight of a bottle of milk.
Open surgery often requires a longer recovery process than laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon will let you know when you can return to your normal routine.