Surgery is strongly recommended for patients with a symptomatic abdominal wall hernia such as an inguinal, femoral, umbilical, epigastric or incisional hernia. This is usually performed as an elective procedure to alleviate symptoms of an abdominal wall hernia and to prevent potential complications such as bowel obstruction and bowel ischaemia. However, if you develop a painful and irreducible hernia, you would need an urgent surgical review to arrange emergency hernia surgery.
Abdominal wall hernia surgery can be performed via open surgery or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is strongly recommended for recurrent or bilateral inguinal hernias. The laparoscopic approach is generally favoured for young patients with a small or moderate sized inguinal hernia, because patients experience less post-operative pain, less wound complications, less risk of chronic pain and earlier return to work and daily activities compared to the open approach. This is performed under general anaesthetic and patients require one night hospital admission. Inguinal hernia repairs carry potential risks of bleeding, wound infections, recurrent hernia, seroma (fluid collection), chronic pain and rare complications of injury to internal organs or to a testicle.
Umbilical/ epigastric hernias often require simple, open repair with a mesh to prevent recurrence.
An incisional hernia is a common complication of abdominal surgery. Patients with emergency bowel surgery or a history of obesity, smoking, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions, have an increased risk of hernia after abdominal surgery. Repair of an incisional hernia can be a complex procedure depending on the site, size and number of defects and the patient’s medical history. This type of hernia is often repaired laparoscopically if defects are of a moderate size. Large, complex abdominal hernias may require open mesh repair or a hybrid approach including both open and laparoscopic approaches.
Post-operative Care Information - for laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair
After your initial inguinal operation, you will be able to eat and drink once fully awake from the general anaesthetic. You will require regular pain relief in the first 48-72 hours, including Panadol and Endone as required.
The day after your procedure you will be reviewed by Mr Choi to discuss the results of the surgery. You will be examined and the drain will be removed if required. Patients are encouraged to mobilise from day 1 of their post-operative course.
Discharge from Hospital
Medications will be organised and dispensed prior to your discharge, as well as a post-operative appointment in Mr Choi's private rooms, usually 2 weeks after your procedure.
Dressings will be changed to waterproof dressings prior to your discharge. The dressings should be kept intact for at least 7 days post-operatively, after which you can remove them gently yourself. You can take showers and wash with the dressings on during this time. There are usually no sutures to be removed because the surgical wounds are closed with absorbable sutures.
Time off work / school
Most people will be away from work or school for 1 week after their operation.
You should not drive for the first week after your operation, especially if taking opioid pain relief such as Endone.
Light walking and light exercise can be resumed once you feel comfortable. Avoid heavy lifting (greater than 5 kilograms). Rigorous exercise such as weight training, yoga or sit ups should not be performed during the first 6 weeks post surgery. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask Mr Choi.
Increasing pain from your surgery after discharge from hospital
If you have any increasing significant pain after your discharge from hospital, or vomiting or high fever, you should seek immediate medical advice, either by contacting Mr Choi through his rooms or directly.
Alternatively, you could see your general practitioner or attend the Emergency Department at Epworth Hospital.