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Hernia Surgery Recovery

Hernia Surgery Recovery

Surgery is one of the most effective ways to treat hernia, which is a painful protrusion through a body organ. If you are about to undergo a surgery for hernia, then this article will give you all the information you need to know about it, and its recovery time.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: May 30, 2018
Are You Cognizant of This?
As per the National Center for Health Statistics, USA, every year, roughly five million Americans suffer from hernia. Out of these, only around 750,000 affected individuals go in for treatment.

Hernia is a sac-like bulge usually formed by the protective lining of the abdominal cavity, i.e. peritoneum. It is a painful protrusion which usually happens when a fatty tissue or a piece of intestine slews via a weak patch in the strong abdominal wall or a connective tissue called the fascia. This creates a bulge which one can see and feel. Some hernias exist at birth itself, while others tend to develop slowly over a period of time. This article will you give you a clear picture of the different surgical procedures, along with the recovery post-surgery, and the various types of hernia.

Surgical Procedures
The most effective and probably the only way to treat hernia is to get it surgically repaired, and it is one of the most commonly performed surgeries today. There are two surgical methods to treat hernia, and depending upon the severity of the condition, the doctor may suggest: (1) Open, mesh or conventional surgery; and (2) Laparoscopic surgery.
  1. Open, Mesh or Conventional Surgery
    In this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision over the affected area and substitutes the herniated tissues. He removes the unwanted tissues and sews together the surrounding muscle tissues to re-mediate the hole or defect in the abdomen. If the patient undergoes a mesh surgery, the surgeon makes an incision at the affected area and places a piece of mesh over it. The surrounding muscle tissues are not sewed together, but the incision is sewn at the end of the surgery.
  2. Laparoscopic Surgery
    It is also known as minimal invasive surgery. In this procedure, around 2 to 3 incisions are made at the umbilical region for the surgical instruments, and also for a tiny camera-like device, through which the surgeon views and treats the hernia. Gas is inflated into the abdomen in order to create space for a camera that has a light, so that the surgeon can operate and view from within. The gas is later released post-surgery (surgery lasts for 2 to 3 hours). This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, due to which the patient doesn't experience any pain.
    However, using special meshes, surgeons now have a tension-free plug and/or patch to repair hernias, rather than suturing tissues together. The advantage of employing this technique is that it greatly reduces the risk of recurrence.

$ Approximate Cost of Surgery
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of the surgery performed, but without a proper insurance plan, the patient may need to spend anywhere between $6,000 - $14,000 on the surgery. These fees would include that of the surgeon, hospital, anesthetist, cost of specialized equipment, antibiotics, and pain medication.

Recovery from Hernia Surgery
After the surgery, the patient will experience minimal discomfort, as the body becomes numb due to the general anesthesia administered. Complete rest is necessary, and it is advisable to stay in the hospital for two to three days, if possible, although, many patients are discharged within a couple of hours after the surgery. Hernia surgery recovery time varies depending on the following criteria:
The kind of hernia the patient suffered from
Location of the hernia
Type of surgery technique used
Patient's health in general

What a patient must do
  • During the recovery period, the incision may get sore, swollen, or bruised within a few weeks after the surgery. Though this is normal, it will be a good idea to consult the doctor if the condition worsens.
  • While sneezing, coughing, or vomiting, the patient should support his abdomen by putting a pillow on it.
  • Minimal physical activity like slow walking will help overcome the normal feeling of stiffness and pain due to the surgery, as it increases blood circulation and speeds up the healing process.
  • He may not be able to engage in any form of strenuous physical activity, as that can have a negative impact on the recovery. If the individual wants to restart his exercise routine or start playing sports again, it is important to consult the doctor beforehand.
☎ Dial a doctor immediately if...
...the patient experiences fever, severe pain or bleeding, difficulty in breathing, excessive sweating, urinary retention, etc., during the recovery period.

Note.- Lifting any heavy object or any kind of extreme pressure on the abdomen should strictly be avoided for a few weeks, post-surgery.

The patient should be given easy-to-digest foods like liquids, juices, or soups, for the initial few days, or at least until the digestive tract has completely recovered. The recovery time varies from person to person, as some patients may resume their normal life within a week after the surgery, while others may take a few weeks to recover. However, on an average, the hernia operation recovery time ranges between two to three weeks, after which, the patient can perform routine activities. Those who have had their hernia treated with the artificial mesh process, often recover in a matter of a few days.

Various Types of Hernia
  • Abdominal/Incisional Hernia
    This type of hernia occurs through a flaw in the weakened abdominal wall or when the intestine pushes through it, post an abdominal surgery. It is also termed as ventral hernia.

    burning sensation, constant pain in the abdomen, pressure of fullness

  • Umbilical Hernia
    It is when a part of the small intestine forces itself through the abdominal wall around the navel area, commonly called belly button hernia. Besides, the hernias that occur anywhere near the belly button are known as paraumbilical hernias. Umbilical hernia is more common in infants, and also in women during or after pregnancy, and is referred to as 'outies'.

    bulge is visible more while crying or coughing or straining, constipation, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and fever

  • Inguinal Hernia
    In this type of hernia, either the bladder or the intestine projects through the peritoneum into the inguinal canal in the groin. Around 80% of hernias are inguinal, and as this may occur on either one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) sides of the groin or scrotum, it is more common in men.

    Symptoms: severe pain at the groin area especially when bending, coughing, swelling in the scrotum, rippling and burning feeling at the bulge

  • Hiatal Hernia - When the esophagus and the stomach slips in the upward direction into the chest through the diaphragm, hiatal hernia occurs. Besides the esophagus, when only a part of the stomach slides up towards the chest, it is termed as paraesophageal hernia. In such cases, the stomach is throttled and the blood supply is restricted to the relative tissues.

    Symptoms: heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), bloated feeling post-meals, difficulty breathing and swallowing, chest pain below the breast bone

  • Femoral Hernia - In this kind of hernia, generally, a part of the small intestine forces itself into the duct which carries the femoral artery into the upper thigh. Women, especially those who are obese or pregnant, are more prone to femoral hernia.

    Symptoms: most femoral hernias show no major symptoms, except abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and discomfort felt while standing, straining or lifting heavy objects

A hernia surgery is highly effective and does not take much of a toll on an individual. However, patients should avoid excessive strain on the herniated area of the body, and should take proper care during the post-surgery recovery period.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is purely for informative purposes, and should not be treated as a replacement for professional medical advice.