The abdominal cavity comprises many vital organs that play an important role in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients into the blood. It is the abdominal wall that holds all these organs in place. When the abdominal wall gets weakened, the contents of the abdomen may start protruding from the weakened spot. It is this characteristic bulge that is the most prominent symptom of hernia. While hernia may be present at birth, it may be acquired later in life. Abdominal hernia may be classified into many sub-types on the basis of the location of the bulge. Umbilical hernia, femoral hernia, incisional hernia and inguinal hernia are some of the most common types of abdominal hernia. You may be wondering what causes the abdominal wall to weaken. Well, hernia could be a congenital defect or may be acquired as a result of stress to the abdominal wall. Violent coughing, strain during bowel movements or lifting heavy objects could lead to hernia. Under these circumstances, one may have to undergo a surgery in order to prevent serious complications. Here's some information on how an abdominal hernia is resolved through surgery along with abdominal hernia surgery recovery time.
The Need for Hernia Surgery
The treatment of hernia mainly depends on the type of hernia. At times, the bulge is small and can also be pushed back into the abdominal cavity. Such a reducible hernia is not really a cause of serious concern, the irreducible ones, however, need to be treated through surgery. Besides the characteristic bulge, other symptoms that may be experienced by a patient include pain and discomfort in the abdomen. At times, hernia may become incarcerated. An incarcerated hernia occurs when a part of the intestine gets trapped within the bulge. Strangulated hernia is a serious complication wherein the trapped intestine doesn't receive any blood. This can lead to serious problems and must be treated at the earliest. Though hernia may appear to be less prominent due to use of abdominal binders or a supportive truss, a patient will have undergo a surgical procedure in order to treat the hernia.
Incarcerated or strangulated hernia is often viewed as a medical emergency, and must be corrected through surgery. One can either have an open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery. Though the aim of both of these surgeries is to push back the hernia and mend the weakened spot in the abdominal wall, the procedures used in these surgeries differ. In case of an open surgery, the abdominal cavity is cut open by making a large incision and the hernia is put back in place and a surgical mesh is stitched over the weak spot in the abdominal wall. The surgeons then suture the incision. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally-invasive surgery wherein smaller incisions are made and a tiny device called laparoscope is inserted through one of these incisions. The visuals of the abdomen on the video monitor guide the surgeons as they insert small surgical instruments through tiny incisions and make the necessary repairs.
Hernia Surgery Recovery Time
The duration of abdominal hernia surgery recovery time depends on the type of procedure employed. As you already know, laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive. Unlike open surgery, that may cause considerable scarring, the incisions are smaller in size and they naturally take lesser time to heal. Under normal circumstances, a patient may recover within a couple of weeks. However, the recovery may be slower if complications develop. The time taken to completely recover may also vary depending on the overall health of the patient. For a speedy recovery, the patient must follow the guidelines or instructions given by the doctors. One must refrain from any activity that may strain the abdominal muscles. While complete bed rest would be required for a while, one can perform mild activities in a few days.
The key to a faster recovery is to gradually resume the normal activities. One must, however, refrain from lifting heavy objects for a couple of months. Sometimes, the weakening of the abdominal wall may be a direct result of a previous abdominal surgery. If the abdomen had been cut open for surgery, and the incision didn't heal properly, weak spots may develop around the incision. This may cause the organs or tissues to bulge out. This holds true even for a hernia surgery. It's extremely important that the incision heals properly. Straining during bowel movements can put strain on the abdominal muscles, one must, therefore, consume liquids, juices, soups or foods that are easily digestible in the first few days or the week following the surgery.
The time one may take to recover from an abdominal hernia surgery usually ranges from two to three weeks. While one can slowly resume mild routine activities, one must refrain from indulging in any activity that may affect the healing of the incision and cause complications to develop. Since being overweight can also make one susceptible to hernia, there is a need to keep a tab on one's weight.