Hernia is a common condition that occurs in all ages and is amenable to surgical treatment with a high success rate. Hernia presents as a bulge underneath the skin which frequently appears on standing up and when one coughs. Hernias commonly appear in the inguinal region, at around the navel and at sites of previous surgical incisions. All hernias are formed because of an underlying deficiency in the abdominal muscle wall. The bulge of the hernia can be made prominent when one strains the abdomen during cough or weight lifting. Most hernias can either be reduced spontaneously when lying in bed or with a gentle massage on the hernia. If the hernia cannot be reduced, it requires urgent surgery for reduction.
Problems associated with Hernias
All hernias will not be resolved without surgical treatment. If left alone, hernia may get bigger in time and becomes irreducible. There is always a danger of trapping intestine in the hernia leading to blockage of the gut and in severe cases, endangering the viability of the bowel. Hernias usually get bigger and cause a lot of discomfort and inconvenience to the patients. In inguinal hernias, the groin bulge can extend downwards to involve the scrotum and cause significant disfigurement. Undue external pressure on the hernia may cause injury or even perforation of the bowel inside the hernia especially if the hernia cannot be reduced. In order to solve all problems associated with hernias, surgical repair of the hernia is necessary.
Ways to fix a Hernia
There are two ways to fix a hernia in general, the open surgical method or the minimally invasive approach with the use of laparoscopy. The open surgical method will require an incision of about 5 to 10cm to the skin over the site of the hernia in order to repair the abdominal defect. In the last decade, a new method of laparoscopic approach is developed. All it requires are one 1cm incision at the belly button and two other 0.5cm puncture holes at the lower abdomen for the completion of the repair.
How is Laparoscopic Hernia Repair performed?
General anaesthesia is usually required and recommended. A 1cm incision is placed at the lower border of the belly button for the insertion of a laparoscope connected to a camera and a light source. A space is then opened in the abdominal wall just in front of the peritoneal lining. This is the space in which the deficiency in the abdominal wall of the hernia can best be visualized. The image of the operative field is projected onto the TV monitor for the surgeon to conduct the surgery. Two slender instruments are put into the space via two puncture holes in the skin of 0.5cm in size for operating. The hernia is then reduced under laparoscopic vision and a patch (artificial mesh) is put into the space to cover the hernia defect. On healing, the deficiency of the abdominal muscular wall is strengthened by the mesh to produce a sound hernia repair.
Advantages of the Laparoscopic Method
Laparoscopic hernia repair is a reliable way to fix the hernia using minimally invasive principles. With minimum trauma associated with the method, the patient usually feels minimal pain and can be up and about right after the surgery. The patients can usually get back to normal daily activity the day after surgery and return to work or sport a few days after surgery. The tiny scars resulted from the small incisions in laparoscopic hernia repair is much better looking than the longer surgical scars of the open surgical method. Recent studies of laparoscopic hernia repair have shown that the recurrence rate following laparoscopic repair can be kept at a very low level when compared to the best open hernia repair method.
Our Hospital is committed to provide the most up-to-date and best service to our patients. Laparoscopic hernia repair which is the most patient friendly approach for fixing hernias is now available to treat our dear patients with the problem of hernia. With the laparoscopic approach, we hope that our patients do not have to undergo the sufferings and pain of conventional open hernia operations. Our patients can also benefit from the minimally invasive surgery and can return to their usual activities at the earliest possible time.