Cheltenham Vascular Unit
Laparoscopic hernia surgery
Am I suitable for Laparoscopic hernia repair?
Laparoscopic surgery is not suitable for everyone, particularly if you have had previous abdominal surgery or you are not able to have a general anaesthetic. The surgeon will need to assess you prior to surgery to determine whether keyhole surgery is best for your particular hernia.
Are there any alternatives to laparoscopic hernia repair?
An alternative to laparoscopic repair is the traditional ‘open’ hernia repair.
The operation will be performed using a general anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic means that you are asleep for the whole operation. All laparoscopic hernia repairs are done under a general anaesthetic.
Risks and benefits of laparoscopic hernia surgery
1.There is a small chance that it may not be possible to complete your hernia repair by the ‘keyhole’ method. In such cases the surgeon will have to convert to the traditional ‘open’ hernia repair.
2.The area may be bruised and discoloured after surgery. This will take several weeks to settle down. With inguinal hernia repair the bruising may spread to the scrotum.
3.Occasionally some fluid can build up in the groin after hernia surgery causing a small swelling or bulge. This swelling usually settles over time with no further treatment.
4.You will experience pain and discomfort after the operation and painkillers may be necessary for the first few days or weeks. Guidance on painkillers will be given whilst you are in hospital.
5.Occasionally patients may have difficulty in passing urine after hernia surgery, requiring the temporary insertion of a catheter to drain the bladder. Studies have suggested that that the chances of this happening are less after laparoscopic hernia repair compared with open repair.
6.Wound infections are uncommon but if you notice increasing redness, swelling or pain see your GP. If you had a mesh put in and you develop an infection you may need to have the mesh removed to help clear the infection, but this is unlikely. There does appear to be a smaller incidence of wound infection after laparoscopic hernia repair compared to open repair.
7.There is a risk of being left with permanent pain or numbness after hernia surgery. This chronic pain may require prolonged treatment.
NICE has stated that permanent pain or numbness is less common in patients who have had laparoscopic hernia repair compared with open repair.
8.There is a very small risk of damage to the blood vessels supplying the testicle in male patients undergoing inguinal hernia repair. The risk is higher, around 5% if the hernia has been operated on before. This can lead to swelling or shrinkage of the testicle and this can be permanent.
9. A hernia may develop at one of the wound sites. This may require corrective surgery.
General risks of Surgery
1.There is a minimal risk of developing blood clots in the legs after surgery (deep vein thrombosis).The blood clots can get dislodged from the legs and go to the lungs where they can cause pain and shortness of breath (pulmonary embolism).
2.You will be left with small scars after surgery although these should fade over time. Most scars heal with a thin line but some are permanently wide or thick.
3.As with any operation there is always a risk to heart and lungs because of the strain they are put under during the operation. Death after hernia surgery is almost unheard of. However, no operation is completely free of risk.
Activity and discharge from hospital
Once you are independent and managing food and drinks, arrangements will be made for you to go home. Most patients go home the same day as the surgery.
Commonly asked questions after laparoscopic hernia surgery.
Will my hernia return?
Although uncommon there is a small risk that the hernia may return at some time. National figures suggest this occurs in about 2 in every 100 patients. This figure is roughly the same whether you have your hernia mended by the laparoscopic method or by the open method.
Will I do any harm by lifting?
You may not feel like lifting very heavy objects for several weeks after surgery. You shouldn’t do any harm even lifting straight away but it would be wise to gradually increase the weight that you lift.
When can I drive again?
You can begin driving again once you can perform an emergency stop comfortably and without hesitation. This usually takes about 2 weeks. Try it in a stationary car first.
It is advised that you inform your car insurance company that you have had an operation.
Will the operation affect my sex life?
Hernia surgery should not affect your sex life. You can return to normal sexual relations as soon as you feel comfortable.
When can I play sport again?
You may undertake physical activity including walking and playing sport as soon as you feel comfortable, but build up slowly.
When will the pain stop?
Twinges of pain are common even several months after surgery.
Some surgeons make arrangements to see their hernia patients in the outpatient clinic after the operation and some do not. If you have any difficulties or complications please contact your GP for advice. Sometimes your GP will then refer you back to the hospital if necessary.
The information contained on this website is intended as a guide only, it is not intended to subtitute for medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment.
Please see your doctor with any questions regarding personal health or medical conditions
Laparoscopic surgery is often referred to as ‘keyhole surgery’.
Very small cuts are made in the patient’s abdomen and a fine telescope (a laparoscope) and other specialised instruments are inserted through these cuts.
Usually, a piece of synthetic mesh is used to close the hernia and stop the intestine pushing through the muscle wall again. The mesh remains inside the body permanently to reinforce the weak area.
The main benefit of laparoscopic surgery over open surgery is that you can usually return to work and normal activities more quickly compared with traditional “open” hernia surgery.
Laparoscopic hernia surgery
Most patients have their laparoscopic hernia surgery and return home on the same day.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said that ‘laparoscopic surgery for inguinal hernia should only be performed by specially trained surgeons who regularly carry out the procedure.’