Hernia

1. What is hernia?
It is the protrusion (bulge) of abdominal viscera through a weakened part of abdominal wall. A hernia does not get better over time, nor will it go away by itself (except very small congenital navel hernia). It always becomes bigger with time.
2. What are the common types?
The common types of hernia are in the groin (inguinal), belly button (umbilical) and the site of a previous operation (incisional). There are many more types but are rare.
3. What are its symptoms? How can it be detected?
Hernia is easy to recognise. It appears as a bulge under the skin.This bulge may appear on standing or straining and disappear on lying down. It may or may not be painful. Discomfort may worsen at the end of the day and also while coughing and sneezing.
4. What is the treatment for hernia?
Surgery is the only cure for majority of hernias. There is no medical treatment for it.
5. When should hernia be treated?
Once detected, for best results, the herniashould be treated as early as possible. Also, early operation will prevent complications like obstruction and strangulation. When compared with large hernias, the surgical results with smaller hernias are much more satisfying.
6. What is strangulation of hernia?
Strangulation of hernia is a surgical emergency.
The hernia becomes very painful, does not reduce and the overlying skin becomes red. The patient will require hospitalisation and immediate surgery.
7. What are the types of surgery available for treating hernias?
The types of surgery available for treating hernias are:
• Laparoscopic surgery (also known as Minimal Acess Surgery / Minimally Invasive Surgery / Endoscopic Surgery)
• Conventional (Open) surgery
8. How is the laparoscopic / Endoscopic repair for hernia performed?
Three (5.5, 10 mm sized) incisions are made and cannulas placed in them. A laparoscope (a long narrow telescope) connected to a special camera is inserted through a cannula (a small hollow tube), allowing the surgeon to view the hernia and surrounding area on a video screen. Other cannulas are insertedwhich allow the surgeon to work inside. A piece of surgical mesh is fixed over the hernia defect and held in place with small surgical staples.
9. What are the advantages of laparoscopic / Endoscopic surgery over conventional surgery?
Endoscopic surgery causes much less pain and patients are mobile within hours after surgery. They are also allowed to resume all activities much earlier and can go back to work within 5-7 days. Another advantage is that both sides can be operated in the same sitting without any extra pain or stay. The cosmetic results are excellent.
10. Is it necessary to use the mesh in all the cases?
Yes. Now world over, there is consensus that the use of mesh is desirable in majority of patients to stengthen the wall whether surgery is done conventionally or endoscopically. Only the childhood hernias are repaired without using mesh.
11. Is endoscopic surgery safe?
Yes. Done by a properly trained surgeon in a well equipped centre, it is a safe surgery with excellent results.