A hernia describes a weakness of the inside layers of abdominal muscle, which creates a bulge or tear. Similar to an inner tube that pushes through a damaged tire, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened abdominal wall to form a small, balloon-like sac. A loop of intestine or abdominal tissue can push into the sac, which could cause potentially serious problem that requires surgery. A hernia may be present since birth or may develop over time. A hernia will not go away by itself; the only way to repair a hernia is with surgery.
The common areas where hernias occur are in the groin (inguinal), belly button (umbilical) and the site of a previous operation (incisional). It is usually easy to recognize a hernia. You may notice a bulge under the skin. You may feel pain when you lift heavy objects, cough, strain during urination or bowel movements, or during prolonged standing or sitting. Severe, continuous pain, redness and tenderness are signs that the hernia may be entrapped or strangulated. These symptoms are cause for concern and immediate contact of your physician.
Laparoscopic hernia repair is a technique to fix tears in the abdominal wall (muscle) using small incisions, telescopes and a patch (mesh).
What to Expect
Laparoscopic surgery may offer a quicker return to work and normal activities with decreased pain for some patients. The laparoscopic approach uses a laparoscope (a tiny telescope) connected to a special camera to view the hernia and surrounding tissue on a video screen. Other cannulas are inserted that allow a New Jersey Bariatric Center® surgeon to work inside the abdominal cavity. Three or four quarter-inch incisions are usually necessary, and the hernia is repaired from behind the abdominal wall. A small piece of surgical mesh is then placed over the hernia defect and held in place with small surgical staples.
Excerpted from Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons’ Task Force on Patient Information.