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What are the Different Types of Inguinal Hernia Procedures?

By M. West
Updated May 17, 2024
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An inguinal hernia usually involves a portion of the intestine bulging through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall in the groin region. If a patient's hernia is small and not causing any pain, a doctor may delay intervention and advise that it be watched. When the hernia becomes larger and gets painful, surgery is commonly required to alleviate discomfort and prevent complications. The two types of inguinal hernia procedures are herniorrhaphy and laparoscopy. In most cases, these procedures are performed on an out-patient basis.

A herniorrhaphy, otherwise known as open hernia repair, is a procedure where the surgeon pushes the bulging part of the intestine back in place. He then repairs and reinforces the weakened spot of the abdominal wall. A synthetic mesh is frequently used to provide support for this repaired area. Following this inguinal hernia surgery, patients will be advised to start moving as quickly as they can. Four to six weeks may be needed before they are able to get back to their full schedule.

Inguinal hernia laparoscopy is a procedure where the surgeon makes a few small incisions. A tube with a miniature camera is inserted through one incision, while tiny instruments are inserted into the others. The camera guides the doctor as he does the surgery. Advantages of this technique are a faster recovery and reduced scarring, and disadvantages include a greater potential to develop complications and experience reoccurrences. Of the two available inguinal hernia procedures, this one may not be recommended for those with very large hernias.

Although these procedures are usually safe and complications are rare, patients should be aware of certain postoperative symptoms to report to their doctor. A very small percentage of patients may bleed, resulting in swelling and discoloration at the incision site. Wound infections are a small possibility as well. Indications of this are fever along with redness and discharge from the surgery site. Another complication of inguinal hernia procedures is painful scarring; however, this normally eventually disappears.

Several lifestyle practices can play a role in preventing hernias. Adopting an exercise program and diet that will lead to a healthy weight will be helpful. Eating high-fiber foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain products, will foster better bowel movements and less straining. Patients should avoid lifting heavy objects and stop smoking. Measures such as these can prevent inguinal hernia procedures from being necessary.

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