Common Conditions Treated

Laparoscopic Hernia/Hernia Repair

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall. This allows the internal contents to push through, causing a bulge.

What does the surgery involve?

Laparoscopic hernia repair is similar to other laparoscopic procedures. General anesthesia is given, and a small cut (incision) is made in or just below the navel. The abdomen is inflated with air so that the surgeon can see the abdominal (belly) organs.

A thin, lighted scope called a laparoscope is inserted through the incision. The instruments to repair the hernia are inserted through other small incisions in the lower abdomen. Mesh is then placed over the defect to reinforce the abdominal wall.

What to expect for your Surgical Admission

On the day of your surgery, you will be asked to change into a gown. You need to bring your own dressing gown, cotton underpants and slippers. Please remove all make-up, nail varnish and jewellery (wedding rings are permitted.) Leave valuables at home. Your admission paperwork will be completed and a doctor will mark the area to be operated on with a water resistant pen. The risks attached to your surgery sheet will be explained to you. If there is any aspect of your surgery or the risks attached that you are not sure about then you must ask to speak to your surgeon. Then, ensuring you fully understand the surgery you are about to undergo, he/she will ask you to sign a consent form, giving the doctor/surgeon permission to perform your operation. If shaving is necessary it will be performed in theatre.

You will be seen by an anaesthetist prior to your surgery. The anaesthetic you receive may make you feel tired and affect your concentration. This is considered normal and may continue for a day or so.

You will be measured for support stockings and these will be applied prior to your surgery (further instructions given in discharge section.)

Discharge time will vary, depending on the individual and fulfilment of certain criteria to ensure this is done safely. Please wear loose fitting clothes, to ensure that you are comfortable when travelling home.

What are the risks of treatment?

The risk of complications is very low, however, reported complications include:

  • Pain in the testicles or in the cord that carries sperm from the testicle to the penis (spermatic cord).
  • Damage to the cord that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis. This could affect your ability to father children.
  • Fluid (seromas) or blood (hematomas) in the scrotum, the inguinal canal, or the abdominal (belly) muscles.
  • Inability to urinate (urinary retention) or bladder injury.
  • Infection from the mesh or stitches.
  • Scar tissue formation (adhesions).
  • Injury to belly organs, blood vessels, and nerves.
  • Numbness or pain in the thigh.
  • Injury to the testicle, causing testicular atrophy (rare).
  • Recurrence of the hernia (usually related to the mesh applied during surgery being too small to cover the groin area or the mesh not being stapled well).
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the bowel as it is dissected free from the Hernia sac.

Discharge planning and where to get advice

Following your operation you may find the wound site(s) sore. If performed laparoscopically you may have some referred pain to the shoulder. This is normal. Use your pain relieving tablets as instructed.

The stitches in your wound will be beneath the skin and will absorb. You may begin showering the day after your operation- keep the existing dressing(s) in place. After bathing/ showering remove the dressing(s), dry the area and replace with clean dressings.

Keep the wound(s) covered for a further two days.

When you return home you will naturally feel tired for a few days. You should get up each day and take some gentle exercise- begin by taking short walks around your home, gradually increasing until you return to your normal routine. You must avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for six weeks.

Please follow these instructions for the support stockings provided:

  • Wear them day and night for 2 weeks until fully mobile.
  • Remove daily to inspect the condition of your skin- then re-apply.
  • You must wear them the night of your operation.

You will not be able to drive for 24 hours following a general anaesthetic and in total you are advised not to drive for 7-10 days and then only when you can safely control your vehicle. (Ultimate responsibility for re-commencing driving lies with you the patient- if in any doubt please consult your G.P/M.O.) You must not operate machinery or make any important legal decisions and must not look after any dependants, drink alcohol or take sleeping tablets.

If required an outpatient appointment will be given prior to discharge.

A sick note can be issued on request.