A hernia is a sac formed out of lining of an organ that comes through the hole or weak area in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. Hernias are more common in certain parts of the body such as the abdomen, groin, upper thigh area, and belly button area. They can also occur in any place where you have had an incision from surgery.
There are different types of hernias based on their location. The most common types are listed here.
Appears as a bulge in the groin or scrotum, occurring more commonly in men than women
A femoral hernia appears as a bulge in the upper thigh. It is a loop of intestine, or another part of the abdominal contents, that has been forced out of the abdomen through a channel called the "femoral canal"(a tube-shaped passage at the top of the front of the thigh). This type of hernia tends to occur in older people and is more common in women than in men.
A hiatus hernia is when part of the stomach slides through the diaphragm, the muscular sheet that separates the lungs and chest from the abdomen.
Incisional hernia may be caused by the scar if you have had prior abdominal surgery.
Umbilical hernia is a small bulge around the umbilicus (belly button). An umbilical hernia in an infant is caused by the incomplete closure of the muscles around the umbilicus.
The hernia will not get better by itself and may need to be treated surgically as they have a high risk of becoming strangulated. A hernia repair is usually performed as an outpatient surgery with no overnight stay in the hospital. The operation may be performed as an “open” or “keyhole” (laparoscopic) surgery.
In open hernia repair, a large incision is made on the groin (abdomen) and the bulge is pushed back into place. Laparoscopic hernia surgery is a surgical procedure in which a laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision. The laparoscope is a small fibre-optic viewing instrument attached with a tiny lens, light source and video camera.
Indications for laparoscopic hernia repair over open repair may include recurrent hernias, bilateral hernias, and the need for earlier return to full activities.
Contraindications specific to laparoscopic hernia surgery include non-reducible inguinal hernia, previous peritoneal surgery, and inability to tolerate general anaesthesia.
Medical conditions including upper respiratory tract or skin infection and poorly controlled diabetes mellitus should be fully addressed and the surgery should be delayed accordingly.
Laparoscopic surgery is performed in a hospital operating room under general anaesthesia. The television camera attached to the laparoscope displays the image of the abdominal cavity on a television screen. The surgeon makes three small incisions over the abdomen to insert the balloon dissector and trocars (keyholes). A deflated balloon along with the laparoscope is inserted and the balloon is inflated with a hand pump under direct vision. Once the trocars (key holes) are placed, the keyhole instruments are then inserted to repair the hernia. A sheet of mesh is inserted through the top key hole and positioned and fixed in the abdominal wall to reinforce the repair and help prevent recurrent hernias. After completion of the repair the CO2 gas is evacuated and the trocars are removed and the tiny incisions are closed and dressed with a sterile bandage.
Specific complications of laparoscopic hernia surgery may include local discomfort and stiffness, infection, damage to nerves and blood vessels, bruising, blood clots, wound irritation and urinary retention.