For open hernia repair surgery, a single long incision is made in the groin. If the hernia is bulging out of the abdominal wall (a direct hernia), the bulge is pushed back into place. If the hernia is going down the inquinal canal (indirect), the hernia sac is either pushed back or tied off and removed.
The weak spot in the muscle wall-where the hernia bulges through-traditionally has been repaired by sewing the edges of healthy muscle tissue together (herniorrhaphy). This is appropriate for smaller hernias that have been present since birth (indirect hernias) and for healthy tissues, where it is possible to use stitches without adding stress on the tissue. But the surgical approach varies depending on the area of muscle wall to be repaired and the surgeon's preference.
Mesh patches of synthetic material (Gore-Tex, Teflon, Dacron, Marlex, or Prolene) are now being widely used to repair hernias (hernioplasty). This is especially true for hernias that recur and for large hernias. Patches are sewn over the weakened area in the abdominal wall after the hernia is pushed back into place. The patch decreases the tension on the weakened abdominal wall, reducing the risk that a hernia will recur.
What To Expect After Surgery
For adults, open surgery for hernia repair usually involves a recovery period of up to 4 weeks before resuming normal strenuous activities. But this varies depending on the individual.
Why It Is Done
Surgical repair is recommended for inquinal hernias that are causing pain or other symptoms and for hernias that are incarcerated or strangulated.
How Well It Works
Open surgery for inguinal hernia repair is safe. The recurrence rate (hernias that require two or more repairs) is low when open hernia repair is done by experienced surgeons using mesh patches. Synthetic patches are now widely used for hernia repair.
The chance of a hernia coming back after open surgery ranges from 1 to 10 out of every 100 open surgeries done. Using a mesh onlay the recurrance rate is under 1%.
Fertility is usually not affected by an inguinal hernia or hernia surgery. But in males there is a chance that surgery or an incarcerated hernia can cause injury to the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra. It is not known at this time how often or to what degree this affects a man's ability to father a child. In rare cases, surgery or an incarcerated hernia may injure the blood vessels that supply one or both testicles with blood, which may cause the affected testicle to shrink.
Adults who have a hernia repair are at risk for:
What To Think About
The following people need special preparation before surgery to reduce the risk of complications:
Most inguinal hernia repair surgery on adults of all ages and healthy children is done on an outpatient basis. or on demand as inpatient surgery, which requires one day stay in the hospital. Surgery takes about 1 hour.
Inpatient surgery is sometimes recommended for people who have: