A hernia is a type of condition in which any organ protrudes from the cavity in which it is supposed to be contained. This happens because the cavity wall, which is responsible for keeping the organ in position, is weakened or has ruptured. As a result, that organ starts to protrude. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act making medical treatment more affordable for everybody, it has become easier for people to seek hernia treatments, including surgery. In the past, people would often leave hernias alone in the hopes that they would be able to cope naturally. Hernias can happen anywhere in the body, although it is most common in the abdominal and groin areas.
Leaving a hernia alone is not recommended. In many cases, the condition is very painful. More importantly, if left untreated, the hernia can worsen and start to strangle or constrict blood vessels or other parts of the body, and this is a medical emergency. In fact, if left untreated, the organ that is protruding may fail as well. Fixing a hernia is a relatively straightforward procedure. Unfortunately, if you have had a hernia in the past, it is more likely to develop one again later on in life.
There are two main types of hernia treatments available. These are:
1. Open surgery.
This is a more traditional technique, whereby the area where the hernia is located will be surgically opened and then the organ is put back in place. The surgery is completed under general anesthetic, after which an incision is made to put the organ that bulges back in its normal position. Once it is returned to the right position, the adipose tissue will also be repaired, which stops the hernia from recurring. The outer covering is then sewed back together.
2. Laparoscopic surgery.
This is a more advanced type of procedure that is also minimally invasive and therefore also often preferred by surgeons and patients alike. The procedure leaves minimal scars, has a very short recovery time, and leads to fewer complications. Here, a laparoscopic incision is made around the site of the hernia, and instruments are used to put it back into place. In the past, laparoscopic treatment was a lot more expensive, because surgeons would require extensive training. However, with the majority of surgeons now trained in this, the price has come down significantly. This type of procedure offers a range of different benefits, not in the least the fact that patients can return to their normal activities in as little as a week. Furthermore, there is much less pain involved with the procedure.
Which one of the two options you will be offered will depend on a variety of factors. Your own personal choice is one of those factors, and so are the particular skills of your surgeon. It is important to listen to his or her advice. Your current condition will be assessed and recommendations are made in terms of which option is best for you. Make sure you also follow all their pre- and post-operative advice to have the best chance at success.