Repair of inguinal hernia is a common surgical procedure in men. But often the question arises- which is the best technique to repair inguinal hernia?  The hernia is repaired with suturing or placing a synthetic mesh over hernia in one of the layers of the abdominal wall. It is done either using open surgery or minimal access laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic techniques versus open techniques to repair Inguinal Hernia 1

Symptoms of inguinal hernia

  • Protrusion in the area on either side of the pubic bone, especially while coughing or when you sit upright.
  • Pain or discomfort in the groin area
  • Pressure or weakness around the groin area
  • Pain and swelling around testicles when the protruding intestine leans into the scrotum

Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia

Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is the minimally invasive procedure that requires general anesthesia. The surgeon puts small incisions in the abdomen. The abdomen is inflated with harmless air so that the surgeon can see the abdominal organs easily. A thin fiber-optic instrument, that has a camera on top, called laparoscope is inserted through the incision and other repairing instruments through other incisions in the lower abdomen. Mesh is then placed over the defect to strengthen the abdominal wall. The incisions are sealed using a harmless surgical glue. The benefits of laparoscopic hernia surgery are :

  1. Reduced pain
  2. Small incisions instead of one large cut
  3. Less postoperative pain
  4. Quick recovery
  5. Daycare procedure

Open Inguinal Hernia

Open inguinal hernia repair is an invasive procedure that can be done under general, spinal or local anesthesia. The surgeon puts a long incision in the groin area. The hernia is pushed back into place if it is coming out of the abdominal wall (direct). The hernia sac is pushed back or tied and removed if it goes down the inguinal canal (indirect). The surgeon sews the weak defect area placing mesh along the abdominal wall. The cut is stapled or stitched.  The benefit of open surgery is that the learning curve is short.

Laparoscopic surgery over open surgery

  1. Laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery needs a few small incisions whereas open surgery needs a long incision.
  2. In laparoscopic surgery, the recovery time is faster as compared to open surgery.
  3. General anesthesia is needed for laparoscopic repair whereas open surgery can be done under general, spinal or local anesthesia.
  4. When a patient has hernias on both sides, there is no need to make another incision to treat the other hernia. While in open surgery, another surgery is needed to treat the second hernia.
  5. The postsurgery discomfort is very less in case of laparoscopic surgery while there is a pain, chances of infection and discomfort as the stitches take long to heal after open surgery.
  6. Laparoscopic surgery cannot be performed for those who refrain general anesthesia. Open surgery is the only solution to treat their hernia problem.
  7. There are a few incisions in laparoscopic surgery, therefore, it is more appealing for cosmetic reasons. No scare.
  8. Treatment of recurrent hernia is often easier with laparoscopic surgery than with open surgery.
  9. Laparoscopic surgery is a daycare procedure while in case of open surgery you might have to stay for 2-3 days.
  10. All surgeons perform open surgery but only specialists perform laparoscopic surgery. Therefore hands-on experience is a must for laparoscopic surgery.
Specifics Laparoscopic Surgery Open Surgery
Invasive minimum maximum
Incision no long
Recovery quick slow
Risk of recurrence low high
Stitches Less or no many

Inguinal hernia surgery in children

Some children are born with an inguinal hernia which is visible when they cough or cry, sometimes even when they are sleeping. Doctors push them gently and it goes away in some cases but some children need surgery. Hernia needs to be repaired because they are likely to become incarcerated.

There may not any complain about pain until the blood supply is being cut off and intestine becomes tightly trapped. Laparoscopic surgery is not done in children but laparoscope may be used during open surgery. This is to check the opposite groin area for a hernia. If the hernia is present on the other side too, the surgeon repairs both in the same surgery.

People who choose not to have hernia surgery at all

  • Those who have a chronic illness may decide to not to go for the surgery or f hernias are not strangulated or incarcerated. It also depends on how much hernia is bothering but remember surgery is the solution to treat the hernia.
  • People with scarring liver have fluid in the abdomen which increases the pressure on the abdomen.
  • Men who have enlarged prostate and find extremely difficult to urinate. This problem should be treated before hernia surgery.
  • People who have had radiation treatment to the groin area may have poor healing and are at higher risk of the hernia coming back.

Final Words

Nowadays, people do not have enough time to even treat their daily health problems. When it comes to surgery, people think it will take days and months to heal. But with advanced technology, The treatment procedures have become quicker, better and easier.

If there is something more that you want to know about open surgery and laparoscopic surgery to treat hernia, connect to a hernia medical center and make sure you get all the answers to your queries.

Also Read: 10 Natural Remedies to treat Hernia without Surgery

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