Hernia Repair: Types, Surgery and Recovery

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A hernia is a condition in which an internal tissue or an organ breaks through a hole in the muscles. This is treated by a procedure in which the displayed tissues are positioned named as Hernia repair surgery or Herniorrhaphy. It is one of the most common surgeries to be performed.

Types of hernia

The most common types of hernia include:

  1.    Reducible hernia

This type of hernia can be pushed right back into the opening it came through.

  1.    Irreducible or incarcerated hernia

This type of hernia cannot be pushed back through the opening it came through because the hernia sac has been filled with the organ or abdominal tissue.

  1.    Strangulated hernia

This is the worst type of hernia where the blood supply is cut off as the part of the tissue or an organ gets stuck inside the hernia.

Do I Need Hernia Surgery?

If any of the following things happen, you might need a hernia surgery:

  1.   Incarceration – In this, the tissue gets trapped in the abdominal wall. If this is left untreated, it leads to strangulation where the blood supply to the tissue is cut off.
  2.    Strangulated tissue – This is a surgical emergency otherwise it can result in permanent damage. If you get nausea, fever, sudden pain, or hernia that is red, purple, or dark, consult your doctor immediately.

Types of repair

In some cases, a hernia can be temporarily controlled by applying external compression using a belt-like device known was truss. This pushes the tissues back into the abdomen. It should be used only after a careful evaluation by the doctor.

The hernia needs to be repaired immediately; otherwise, there is a risk of an emergency surgical procedure.

The different types of hernia surgery include:

  1.    Herniorrhaphy (tissue repair)

This is the oldest type of hernia surgery. In this, a long incision is made directly over the hernia. Next, the incision is cut long enough using surgical tools to open it and access it. After that, the hernia sac is removed and displaced organs and tissues are returned to their original locations.

In the end, the sides of the hole or the muscle opening through which the hernia protruded are stitched by the surgeon.

  1.    Hernioplasty (mesh repair)

Also known as tension-free hernia repair, in this surgical procedure, instead of stitching the opening shut, it is covered by a flat, sterile mesh that is made of flexible plastics like animal tissue or polypropylene. First, small cuts are made around the hole in the shape of the mesh. Next, the mesh is stitched into the healthy surrounding tissues.

The mesh will be used as a strengthening and supporting scaffold to the weak and damaged tissues surrounding the hernia.

What does hernia surgery involve?

This is the most common type of surgery. It is used to relieve pain, strengthen the weak muscle area and re-position the hernia abdominal organs. The whole procedure takes an hour and can be performed in two ways. Your doctor will recommend the best one depending on the location and severity of your hernia:

  1. Open surgery – Performed under local or general anesthesia, a small incision, about 2.5 to 3 inches is made near the in hernia into the skin. The surgeon will push back the hernia into the abdomen. Then, the incision is stitched closed or mesh is placed over the hole. Lastly, the opening is closed using fine stitches. The mesh is like a scaffold which reinforces the weakened area as your tissue will grow through the mesh.
  2.  Laparoscopic surgery – This procedure is performed under general anesthesia where instead of one big incision, several smaller incisions are made. It is a less invasive technique where a tiny telescopic camera to repair your hernia.


Once your surgery is over, you can start getting back to your normal life.

As you get up, you will find yourself hooked to an IV in your arm to give you pain medication and fluids. Your incision will be covered with bandages. You should eat something light to help you get up. Start to walk around a little.

Make sure that you get proper discharge instructions from the doctor. This will include how to take care of your incision, what to expect over the first few days, symptoms or warning signs, etc.

If your doctor has prescribed you pain medications, keep them with you. You might need them after the surgery. Also, make sure you ask your doctor which medications are okay to use. Over-the-counter medications increase your chances of bleeding.

Before you go home, you will be able to drink, eat, stand steady on your feet, and urinate properly. Make sure that you get someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first night. You might need some help. If possible, get someone to look after you for a few days so that you can ease back into day-to-day activities.

For the first few days after the surgery, just rest. As a side effect of anesthesia, you might sneeze, cough, or vomit. So, keep a pillow handy to put over your abdomen for support. In some cases, incision remains sore for 2-3 days. Also, it might become swollen, tender, numb or bruised. Don’t worry about it as it is completely normal and will go away within a few weeks. However, if you have any concern, call the hospital.

For the first week or two, you will get tired easily. But eventually, you will improve. Ease yourself back into your normal routine. Take a few days off work. Full recovery might take 1 to 6 weeks.

To ease up the recovery process, enhance healing, prevent infection, and avoid weight gain and brisk coughing, it is important that you know and understand the do’s and don’ts for the first week:

  1.    Ask your doctor for how long you need to keep your incision dry. It is usually about 1-2 days. It depends on the type of repair you just had.
  2.    Walk. Make sure you don’t strain your abdomen. It will speed up your healing by increasing blood circulation in the body.
  3.    Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Drink a lot of fluids to avoid constipation. If you need it, your doctor can prescribe you some laxative or stool softener.
  4.    Your ability to drive safely will be impaired for about a week due to anesthesia. Ask your doctor when it will be safe for you to start driving.
  5.    Avoid lifting for at least a few days. Use your knees and back to lift things. Make sure you don’t use your abdominal muscles.
  6.    Depending on the type of surgery you had and your occupation, you might return to work within a week. At first, you will get tired easily. If your work involves a lot of strenuous, physical activities, you should stay at home for a few more weeks.
  7.    Don’t play any sport or participate in any strenuous exercises. For how long you don’t have to, depends on the type of surgery you had and the type of activity.
  8.    Ask your doctor when you can resume sexual activity.

If you notice any of the following symptoms during your recovery period, call your doctor immediately:

  1.    Fever
  2.    Redness
  3.    Bleeding
  4.    Excessive sweating
  5.    Worsening pain
  6.    Difficulty in urinating

The Apollo Cradle Motinagar is well capable to handle these complications and provide proper care to you. Our doctors and staff have successfully repaired a lot of hernia cases. We have state-of-the-art facilities and experienced medical staff that is equipped to deal with your condition.