Though similar, a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair works differently than an open hernia repair. It requires several tiny incisions versus one larger one to repair the hernia.
A laparoscopic repair is a minimally invasive surgery which provides a faster recovery and less pain. A hernia will not go away by itself and if symptoms persist, a surgical procedure is necessary. Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia usually determines which of these two treatments are best for you.
A ventral hernia occurs at the site of a previous surgical incision. Any incision can potentially cause a weakness. The abdominal wall becomes weakened from the original incision, and a bulge or tear appears as part of the intestines or stomach protrude through the weak abdominal wall. In some cases these organs can become trapped or incarcerated in the bulge, which can become a serious medical issue.
Ventral hernias typically occur due to straining, heavy lifting, or an injury, and they become more common as we age.
The Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Procedure
Patients are given general anesthesia that will last several hours after surgery. During the laparoscopic procedure, a tiny incision is made to allow a laparoscope (a lighted tube with a camera on the tip) to be inserted. This allows the surgeon to see the hernia from the inside on a monitor, and helps him or her to guide the surgery.
Additional tiny incisions are made to allow other instruments to be placed inside the abdominal cavity for the procedure. The surgeon will repair the hole, remove any scar tissue, and bring the muscle tissues back to their normal position. Then a piece of surgical mesh is placed under the hernia to prevent it from reforming. The mesh will be attached to stronger tissue in the abdominal wall with tacks or surgical sutures to hold the mesh in place.
Post Surgical Care and Instructions
As with all surgical procedures, it is essential that patients follow all medical recommendations like when to return to normal activities and to what extent they will be able to safely engage in such activities. It will be a relatively short period of time before patients can resume activities like driving, going up and down stairs, showering, returning to work, or having sex.
Patients should expect mild to moderate discomfort after a laparoscopic hernia repair. This pain can typically be easily managed using over-the-counter pain relievers recommended by Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia.
The following issues indicate a problem and should be reported to the doctor immediately:
Chills, fever or vomiting, drainage or bleeding, cough and shortness of breath, redness around the incisions, and increased pain or swelling.
Advantages of Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair
Choosing laparoscopic ventral hernia repair over the open type surgery has a number of advantages:
- It is less invasive.
- There should be a shorter hospital stay with patients released on the same day or one overnight stay.
- Less chance for infection because the incisions are smaller.
- Less postoperative pain.
- There will be faster return to normal activities and eating habits.
- Not everyone is a candidate for the laparoscopic treatment due to age, weight and other health factors.
Contact Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia for a proper diagnosis if you suspect you may have a ventral hernia.