What You Should Know About Hernia Repair

  • Slide 1: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    1. Hernias in the chest, thigh, groin or belly area can be surgically repaired.
    A hernia occurs when organs or other structures push through a weak place in the muscle. Hernias can bulge into the chest, thigh, groin, or belly button and cause a lump. They can become serious if they cut off blood flow to the organ, leading to tissue strangulation. Hernia repair puts the organ back in its normal place and fixes the weakened area of muscle.

  • Slide 2: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    2. Some hernias are present at birth and others develop later in life.
    The most common type of hernia is an inguinal hernia. It occurs when the intestines (viscera) bulge through the muscles into the groin. An umbilical hernia occurs in the belly button. A femoral hernia occurs in the thigh.  An incisional hernia occurs in an old surgery scar. A birth defect called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia causes abdominal organs to push up into the chest. A hiatal hernia is the bulging of the stomach into the chest.

  • Slide 3: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    3. Hernia repair is for large hernias or hernias causing pain and other symptoms.
    Not all hernias need surgery right away. A regular checkup with your doctor may be the only treatment needed for hernias that do not cause problems. Hernias need repair when they cause pain or nausea and vomiting. Sometimes hernias become trapped (incarcerated) outside the abdomen. This can cut off blood supply to the organ (strangulated hernia). This requires urgent surgical repair.

  • Slide 4: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    4. You need an experienced general surgeon to repair your hernia.
    A general surgeon will perform your hernia repair. A general surgeon has expertise in performing surgery to treat many diseases and conditions. Your general surgeon will lead a team to complete your surgery in a hospital or outpatient surgery setting. You will most likely have a pediatric surgeon if your child is having hernia surgery. Let Healthgrades help you find a surgeon in your area.

  • Slide 5: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    5. You may have the option of minimally invasive hernia repair.
    Hernia repair is a major surgery. You will have a nerve block (regional anesthesia) or general anesthesia so you do not feel pain. Hernia repair involves making a large cut (open surgery) or several smaller cuts (minimally invasive surgery). The surgeon puts the displaced organ back into its normal place. The surgeon strengthens the weakened area of muscle with stitches or a mesh patch and closes the incision.

  • Slide 6: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    6. There is a level of risk that you should discuss with your doctor.
    As with all surgeries, there are risks involved with hernia repair, including bleeding, a blood clot, infection, and a reaction to anesthesia. You can also have problems urinating, a return of hernia, long-term pain, and nerve or organ damage. Ask your doctor about your specific risk of problems and how you can reduce some risks by following your treatment and recovery plan.

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    7. You’ll have preoperative tests and specific instructions to prepare for surgery.
    Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare for your surgery. This may include blood tests, an EKG, a chest X-ray, and other tests. Your doctor will give you instructions about taking medications and when to stop all food and drink the night before your surgery. You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners before surgery. Be sure to tell your surgeon about all your allergies, medications, and your full medical history.

  • Slide 8: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    8. Be prepared with your medical history the day of surgery.
    Once you’re in the hospital on the day of surgery, you can expect to sign a surgical consent, remove all clothing and jewelry, and dress in a hospital gown. You will talk with the surgical team about your medical history. Your surgery team will start an IV and your anesthesia. They will also attach tubes and wires that control and monitor your vital signs and body functions. You will not feel or remember this or the surgery.

  • Slide 9: What You Should Know About Hernia Repair
    9. Recovery from hernia repair takes 2 to 6 weeks.
    You’ll recover from surgery gradually. You may go home the same day of surgery or stay in the hospital for a day, depending on your condition. There will be some pain as you heal. Your surgeon will treat your pain so you are comfortable. Call your doctor if you are still in pain or have bleeding, fever, or wound redness or drainage.

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    10. Most people return to an active life without pain after hernia surgery.
    You will need to follow your treatment plan to prevent your hernia from returning. This includes avoiding weight gain and constipation. You should also perform activities and exercises, only as directed by your doctor, to avoid strain on the hernia.

What You Should Know About Hernia Surgery

About The Author

  1. Could That Lump Be A Hernia? KidsHealth from Nemours. http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/surgical/hernia.html#
  2. Groin Hernia: Inguinal and Femoral Repair. American College of Surgeons.  https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/groin%20hernia.ashx
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Jul 12
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.