An inguinal hernia is an abnormal bulge of tissue in the groin area. When the muscles in the groin are injured or stretched, it causes a hole that allows a portion of intestine or fat to slip out into a hernia sac. Most hernias can be diagnosed by a physical exam but may require some additional testing. The majority of hernias can be repaired as elective surgery; however, if the intestine or fat gets caught in the hole this is called an incarcerated hernia, and requires emergency surgery. You will have the choice of either being asleep or having spinal anesthesia during this one to two hour surgery.
Depending on the size and character of your hernia, your surgeon may need to use a “patch” or “plug” to fix the hernia defect. Your surgeon will tell you after the surgery if this was necessary. Some patients can have this procedure done laparoscopically, while others require an open repair. Only your surgeon can determine which approach is best for you.
If your procedure is done laparoscopically, you will have 3 small incisions near the hernia repair site. If your repair is done open, there will be a two to three inch incision in your groin area and you will either have staples or stitches across your skin. Most patients can go home the same day but it is not uncommon for a few patients to spend the night in the hospital. Your only restriction upon your return home is no heavy lifting or straining.
Most patients can plan to be off work for 10 days to two weeks, but could be longer if your job requires lifting. By the end of six weeks, your body is completely healed from the surgery and you may return to all normal activities.