Hernias are a mechanical problem, so the solution offered is a mechanical one. Over the years the mechanical solutions were improved and the operation, which once was very painful and required hospitalization, is done today on an hour patient basis enabling patients to resume their normal activities quite quickly.
Basically today there are two methods to perform the operation. The open method, where a small cut is made over the bulging area, and the endoscopic repair method. Each has its own benefits and the patient should discuss with his/her surgeon the best method that will apply in their case.
It is somewhat difficult to explain to the layman the exact steps taken while performing the repair. Basically today the repair involves the insertion of a plastic mesh that helps to bridge the defect and make the repair stronger.
Dr. Reisfeld uses the open method repair using a plastic mesh (Prolene) which is inserted into the repair site. The operation is carried out under general sedation and local anesthetic at the repair site. The patients are able to go back to their homes about 2 hours after the operation which can take about half an hour to perform.
The mesh which is inserted provides a tension free repair which is a concept that was developed over the last 20 years. Before that the bodyís own tissues were used to close the gap the defected which obviously was the source for the prolonged pain and discomfort. Also that old type of repair was responsible to a relatively higher rate of recurrences, about 4%. Today with the new methods of repair the recurrence rate is less than 1%.
As with any operation complications are a possibility. In the case of hernia repair those are few and should be discussed with the surgeon before the operation. Bleeding, infection, scar tissue formation, and injury to other organs are few that should be mentioned. Other complications can occur after a hernia operation: there is a small chance of continuing pain in the groin area, caused by the handling of a nerve during surgery, or by pressure on the nerves by scar tissue that forms during healing. Also in men, painful swelling of the scrotum or testicles usually occurs. This can go time as time goes by.
It will be necessary to rest for a while, but in the majority of the cases the patient can go to a normal daily activity within a short time. A heavy physical activity will demand some more time so the tissues and mesh can integrate better. Early activity is recommended.
The post operative care is an easy one and oral pain medications are enough to keep the patient in a comfortable zone.