Hernia repairs have traditionally been performed as an open procedure. However, with the advent of laparoscopic techniques, the majority of hernias are now repaired using laparoscopic (key hole surgery) techniques. This allows patients to recover quicker. In particular, they are often performed as day case procedures and the patient’s return to normal activity is also quicker. Some hernias are relatively small, therefore the incisions that are necessary for an open technique are also relatively small and there is often no advantage in performing the procedure laparoscopically which inevitably entails more than one incision. The typical examples of the latter are umbilical and femoral hernia repairs.
Hernia surgery – open procedure overview
Open surgery requires an incision to be made over the affected site, allowing the hernia to be detected. The organs and tissues are then pushed back into the abdominal cavity. In most cases synthetic mesh will be placed over the hernia defect and then sutured to the surrounding tissue. This ensures a tension-free repair.
Hernia surgery – laparoscopic procedure overview
This type of surgery involves the insertion of a laparoscope (a thin tube used as a telescope). A small incision is made in the abdomen near the umbilicus, providing an entry point for the laparoscope. A video camera is attached to the scope, which operates to give the surgeon a clear view of the abdominal cavity. From here, carbon dioxide is then pumped into the cavity. This enables the surgeon to access the affected area. Similar to open surgery, the hernia defect is then identified and the organs and tissues pushed back into the abdominal cavity. The defect is then covered with synthetic mesh and secured with the aid of special staples.
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