An inguinal hernia is a medical condition that occurs when a small portion of the intestines protrudes through the abdominal wall and into the groin. Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is a minimally invasive surgical procedure aimed at returning the intestines to their normal position and closing the hole in the abdominal wall. Patients are often able to return home the same day as the procedure, and a full recovery does not normally exceed two weeks.
Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is performed under general anesthesia, meaning that the patient is completely sedated and unaware that the procedure is taking place. A small tube, known as an IV, is inserted into a vein so that fluids and medications can be introduced directly into the bloodstream. This IV will typically remain in place until just before the patient is released to go home.
During laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, two or three small incisions are made into the abdominal wall. One slightly larger incision is then made in or just below the navel. Air is then introduced into the abdominal cavity to help the surgeon see all of the abdominal organs and structures. A small camera and other medical instruments are inserted into the small holes so the surgeon can make the necessary repairs without having to place his hands inside the abdomen, thus reducing the chances of infection or damage to any of the abdominal organs.
A type of mesh material is typically placed over the area where the hernia is protruding during the laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair procedure. In some cases, a small portion of the intestines may need to be removed. When this occurs, the damaged portion of the intestine is cut out, and the healthy ends are then reconnected. Once the procedure has been completed, the patient is monitored closely for an hour or so and typically is released to go home the same day.
There are definite advantages to having laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair instead of an open surgical procedure. With open surgery, the patient must typically spend several days in the hospital instead of going home the same day the procedure is performed. Patients who have open surgery also tend to report more pain issues and have a much longer recovery time. There are some possible complications associated with laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, but these are rare. Some potential complications may include the development of blood clots, damage to surrounding organs, or a later recurrence of the hernia.