Laparoscopic Incisional Hernia Repair

A hernia (her-nee-uh) is a weakness or tear in the wall of an organ that causes a part of that organ to squeeze through the muscle wall. An incisional hernia is a type of hernia that occurs at the site of an incision of a previous abdominal surgery.

Is surgery needed?

A hernia tends to increase in size over time and usually does not go away. There is a danger that other belly (abdominal) organs such as bowel could become stuck inside the hernia. This would require emergency surgery.

What is a laparoscopic incisional hernia repair?

A laparoscopic (lap-er-uh-skop-ic) incisional hernia repair is a type of surgery used to repair the hernia. A special device called a laparoscope is used. Small (about one inch) incisions are made to allow the insertion of the laparoscope and surgical instruments. Attached to the laparoscope is a special tiny TV camera. The surgeon can look at a magnified view of the hernia and surrounding areas on a monitor. A piece of special medical material, called mesh, is used to strengthen the weakened area of the abdominal wall. This helps prevent the hernia from recurring.

What are the benefits?

A laparoscopic hernia repair may allow you to recover faster and have less pain than traditional surgery. You can usually go home the same day of the surgery. Larger hernia repairs do require you to be admitted to the hospital for a few days.

What are the risks?

Possible risks are:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding into the belly
  • Injury to nearby structures
  • Return of the hernia

The risks are decreased as compared to traditional surgery as smaller incisions are used.

Should I do anything special to prepare for surgery?

There is no special preparation. The night before the surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not smoke, chew tobacco, or gum the morning of surgery. You will be contacted as to what time to arrive at the hospital the day of the surgery. Have someone drive you to and from the hospital. You will not be able to drive yourself home or take a bus or cab.

What should I expect after surgery?

You will go home the same day of your surgery for smaller size hernias repairs. Larger hernia repairs usually require as a short stay in the hospital. You can return to work and your normal routine in one to two weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks after your surgery. This will allow the repair to heal.