A hernia occurs when an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity containing it. There are four common kinds of hernias: congenital, which is when a person is born with the hernia, inguinal which is typically found in the groin area, umbilical which is found near the belly button and incisional, which occurs near previous surgical incisions. Hernias of all forms present symptoms including abdominal pain ranging from mild to severe, lumps in the abdominal area, difficulty in urination or defecation and inflammation or redness in the affected area.
While the symptoms of hernias can be treated with special devices and creams, the only effective way to truly fix the condition is surgery. Surgery can be completed via two methods. Traditional open repair is performed under general and local anesthesia and the abdomen is opened to allow the surgeon access to the internal wall which needs to be repaired. The other method is laparoscopic hernia repair where the surgeon uses a laparoscope and trochars to perform the repairs inside the body through small incisions. There are a number of benefits to having the less invasive laparoscopic surgery including shorter hospitalization time, quicker recovery, smaller incisions with less pain and scarring.
The surgeon will review each patients condition and case individually to determine the best course of treatment. However, there are risks associated with leaving hernias untreated. Not only does it prolong the discomfort experienced by the patient, but there is also a risk that the prolapsed intestine could become trapped and blood flow could be cut off from the area, which would cause very serious complications of a condition which would otherwise have been very easy to treat.
Most people go home on the same day as the procedure and are back to work and normal activities within a week. There may be some soreness and swelling directly following the repair surgery which will be treatable with ice packs and a prescription for postoperative pain medication as prescribed by the surgeon. The doctor may also suggest taking a stool softener to prevent constipation and heavy lifting, anything of 10 pounds or more, should be avoided until the doctor gives the all clear at a follow up appointment. The surgeon will review aftercare in detail with each patient.
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