Inguinal Hernia Repair, Treatment & Surgery

What is an inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia, occurring when part of the intestine penetrates through a weak spot in the lower abdominal muscles. This happens specifically at the inguinal canal, a narrow passage through your abdominal wall. An inguinal hernia is also known as a groin hernia, due to the nature of where this hernia occurs. This resulting bulge can be painful, particularly when you cough or lift a heavy object.

An inguinal hernia may not always cause pain. However, as with all hernias, an inguinal hernia will not disappear on its own and could potentially lead to life-threatening complications. Surgery is the only option for inguinal hernia treatment (groin hernia treatment) and is quite common. Your doctor will likely recommend inguinal hernia surgery if the hernia is painful or enlarging or contains intestines.

Inguinal Hernia Symptoms

Symptoms of an inguinal hernia can include:

  • A bulge in the areas either side of your pubic bone, which are more obvious when you cough or strain.
  • An aching or burning sensation at the bulge.
  • Pain or discomfort in your groin area, especially when coughing, lifting or bending over.
  • Weakness or pressure in the groin.

The hernia will be more noticeable if you are standing, and you should be able to feel it by putting your hand directly over the affected area. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms you should seek medical attention.

If you aren’t able to push the hernia back in then the contents of the hernia may be trapped (incarcerated) in the abdominal wall. This presents the risk that the hernia can become strangulated, cutting off blood flow to the trapped tissue. This can be life-threatening if left untreated. Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing a hernia bulge that turns dark red or purple, sudden pain that intensifies, fever, nausea/vomiting.

Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Inguinal hernia surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed worldwide. Inguinal hernia surgery is the only treatment option, however patients are often offered the surgery electively. It is up to the patient if they would like to proceed with the surgery, if they are not suffering from considerable pain or risk complications such as a strangulated hernia.

Inguinal hernia surgery (groin hernia surgery) can be performed as open surgery (open hernia repair) or using a minimally invasive approach to hernia surgery (laparoscopic or robotic).


Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair surgery is a minimally invasive form of hernia surgery. This form of inguinal hernia treatment requires smaller incisions, resulting in fewer potential complications and faster recovery times for the patient. Hollow tubes are placed in the incisions, gas is used to inflate the abdomen to allow greater visibility and space, and surgical tools including a small camera are inserted into the tubes to perform the surgery.

Open Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Open inguinal hernia repair surgery involves making an incision approximately 10cm in length in the groin to expose the hernia bulge. The bulge is then returned to the abdominal cavity, and the abdominal wall is then usually reinforced with mesh. Mesh hernia repairs have been able to demonstrate greater results, often allowing patients to return to usual activity sooner, shorter hospital stays, and lower the likelihood of the hernia recurring.

Robot Assisted Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Inguinal hernias can be repaired with the robotic approach and in these cases the hole through which the hernia has developed can be stitched closed using the robot and then the mesh used to reinforce the repair stitched in place as well (rather than being stapled, again with the reduced theoretical risk of postoperative pain). Closing the defect is also aided immensely by using the robotic approach technically.
If you are suffering with an inguinal hernia and would like to make an appointment to discuss inguinal hernia surgery, you can book an appointment online or call our practice on (03) 9509 4811 to make an appointment with our team.

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