A person can do little to prevent areas of the abdominal wall from being weak or becoming weak, which can potentially become a site for a hernia. However, people can reduce the pressure on the abdominal wall to prevent a hernia from bulging through a weak spot (or prevent a hernia from becoming worse) by following these lifestyle practices:
• Lose weight if overweight.
• Eat high-fiber foods with plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation and straining with bowel movements. Drink plenty of water.
• Learn how to lift heavy objects or simply do not lift them at all.
• Stop smoking. Smoking can cause coughing, which can make a hernia worse.
• Exercise to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
How is Hernia Treated: There are no medications to treat a hernia directly. The doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the risk of worsening a hernia (such as a stool softener or cough medicine).
Treatment of a hernia depends on whether it is reducible or irreducible and possibly strangulated. Medically speaking, all hernias should be repaired to avoid the possibility of future intestinal strangulation (which is a serious complication) provided patient is fit to undergo surgery. These cases can be operated electively. However, all acutely irreducible hernias need emergency treatment because of the risk of strangulation.
Hernias can be repaired with two types of surgery.
Open: During traditional or open hernia repair, the abdominal wall is opened during the operation, the protruding tissue is moved back into the abdomen, and the abdominal wall is closed and the weak area reinforced with synthetic mesh. Operation can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. The person will have an incision and several stitches. Patient will have to stay in the hospital for couple of days.
Laparoscopy: These days most of hernia surgeries are done by laparoscopy or keyhole technique. With laparoscopy, tiny fiberoptic instruments are inserted into the abdomen through small surgical openings. The person may have three small incisions ( about 5-10 mm long). A video camera is inserted into one opening, which guides the surgeon who is manipulating the instruments in the other two openings.
A synthetic mesh or a three dimensional (3-D) mesh is introduced , positioned and fixed to the inside of the defect. The person is given general anesthesia, so he or she is asleep during the procedure.
- Advantages of Laparoscopic Surgery:
- Shorter recovery
- Less invasive
- Less pain
- Early mobilization
- Early resumption of activities like walking, driving.
- Back to work early
- Early discharge
Post operative recovery:
Recovering from hernia repair
You should be able to go home 1-2 days after your operation. Get an adult to take you home in a car or taxi and follow any instructions you are given by the hospital.
After the operation, your operation site will feel sore and uncomfortable. You will be given painkillers to help relieve this discomfort.
Looking after yourself
An adult must stay with you for the first 24 hours after your operation in case you experience any problems. If you are still in pain after going home, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. Make sure you follow the instructions your doctor gave you about caring for your wound, hygiene and bathing before you left hospital. Straining on the toilet because of constipation can cause pain around your wound. You can reduce your risk of constipation by drinking lots of fluids and eating plenty of vegetables, fruit and high-fibre foods. A mild laxative may also help.
If the operation was carried out under a general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep during your operation), your co-ordination and reasoning may be affected for a short time. You should avoid drinking alcohol, operating machinery or signing legal documents for at least 48 hours after any operation involving general anaesthetic.
Over time, you can gradually return to your normal activities as soon as you are able to do them without feeling any pain. Most people are able to do light activities, such as shopping, after one or two weeks. You should also be able to return to work after one or two weeks, although you may need more time off if your job involves manual labour. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process, but you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for about 4-6 weeks.
You may find sex painful or uncomfortable at first, but it is usually fine to have sex when you feel like it.
Speak to the doctor in charge of your care for advice about when you can drive. It is usually advisable to avoid driving until you are able to perform an emergency stop without feeling any pain or discomfort (you can practise this without starting your car). It will usually be one or two weeks before you reach this point after having keyhole surgery, although it may take longer after open surgery.
It is usually recommended that you contact your car insurance company before starting driving again.
When to call the doctor
Call your surgeon if you develop any of the following symptoms:
• persistent fever over 38°C (100.4°F)
• increased swelling or pain in your abdomen
• pain that is not relieved by painkillers
• persistent nausea or vomiting
• persistent coughing or shortness of breath
• increasing redness surrounding your incisions
• difficulty passing urine
Hernia surgery is generally safe and complications are rare, however as with other surgeries there is a small chance of risks which include:
- Long term pain (common in open surgery)
- A scar
- Injury to organs (such as the intestines, bladder, or others)
- Risks of general anesthesia, such as pneumonia or blood clots, although these risks are rare
Preoperatively, we do thorough investigations to ascertain fitness of the patient.
Cost depends on lots of factors such as
• Bed category
• Mesh type, size
• Open or laparoscopic repair
• Choice of hospital etc
• Preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, angina which may prolong your hospital stay or need critical monitoring.
Following your first meeting with the doctor, we would be able to give you an approximate estimate.
Easy Finance: In association with Bajaj Finserve, we have made available easy finance options whereby you can pay the entire cost of surgery is eight monthly installments.