Hernia Repair


A hernia is a bulge in the abdominal wall, groin, or thigh area made up of tissue that may get larger when standing and then recede when lying down. Hernia surgery can relieve pain and discomfort by repairing the weakness and returning any displaced tissue back where it belongs.

Hernias happen at any age, even from birth, and are usually not life threatening. Hernias occur most frequently in men and can also affect women and children. Common symptoms of a hernia include:

  • A feeling of pressure or weakness in the groin

  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movements or urination

  • Pain during lifting, coughing, sneezing, or other physical activities

The abdominal walls are made up of several layers of tissues and keep vital organs in their proper position. Small canals in the layers allow nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments to pass through. When these canals or other areas become weakened, the intestine and other abdominal organs can press it, resulting in a hernia. 

An incarcerated hernia cannot be flattened or pushed back into the abdomen. If the intestine is trapped tightly, the tissue becomes strangulated and can lose blood supply, and even die. With both incarcerated and strangulated hernias, prompt treatment is needed to prevent further complications.

Hernia surgery is low risk and complications are rare, but as with any surgery, there are possible complications that can occur.

  • Anesthesia risk

  • Bowel or bladder injury

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Mesh complications

  • Pain or numbness in groin or leg

  • Re-occurrence of hernia

Traditional repair of the abdominal wall is done by stitching together the muscle tissue surrounding the defect. The other option is mesh repair where a piece of special mesh is sewn over the defect like a patch. Mesh repair can be less painful and reinforces the abdominal wall. The tissue eventually grows into the mesh, preventing the hernia from reoccurring.

The types of mesh repair include:

  • Front repair – Mesh is placed in front of the weak area and sutured to nearby tissues to hold it in place

  • Back repair – Mesh is placed behind the weak area and sutured to nearby tissues, allowing pressure inside the abdomen to help hold it in place 

  • Combination repair – Mesh is placed in front of and behind the defect; sometimes with a special kind of mesh connects the front and back pieces

  • Plug repair – A mesh plug fills a hole in the abdominal wall and is secured with a mesh patch and stitches

Usually, you will be discharged from the hospital the same day as your hernia surgery. Here are some basic guidelines for home recovery:

  • Avoid heavy lifting from two to six weeks, depending on the type of hernia

  • Eat healthy high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water

  • Keep the incision site clean and dry

  • Take all medications as directed

  • Take short walks to aid with circulation

Soreness, some swelling, and discoloration or bruising are common after hernia repairs, especially if the repair was in the groin area. A bag of frozen vegetables or an ice pack can be wrapped in a thin towel and applied to the area to reduce swelling for 15 to 20 minutes, three to five times a day. You should be able to return to normal activity as soon as you feel ready.


The Patient Experience

Dr. Robbins looked at my imaging and made an appointment that same day for me to come in. At Vascular Tyler, it’s just like a family environment every time I come in here. If I have to go the doctor’s (office), this is where I want to go.
L. Cunningham, Patient
We don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with rehabilitation or in some sort of medical facility, so it was great discovering that there’s only little or no downtime. It was a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.
B. Finch, Patient
I had excruciating pain and was told I needed a knee replacement. But Dr. Robbins said I just need vascular surgery. They gave me relief from my pain, and they’re kind and interested in you as a patient and a person. This is the place to come.
M. Finch, Patient

Are your veins showing more than usual or do they look abnormal?

The Vein Clinic logo