The soft tissue is usually part of the intestine. It is easy to see and feel the lump, although not all are visible to patients, especially in cases overweight.
An inguinal hernia occurs when the soft tissues protrude through an area of weakness or a defect in the lower abdominal muscles. It is often in or near the groin area. Anyone can get an inguinal hernia, but it is more common in men than women.
During the inguinal hernia repair, your surgeon pushes the bulging tissues into the abdomen while stitching and reinforcing the portion of the abdominal wall that contains the defect. This procedure is also known as inguinal herniorrhaphy and open hernia repair.
Surgery is not always necessary, but hernias usually do not get better without it. In some cases, an untreated hernia can be life-threatening. While some side effects and risks are associated with surgery, most people have positive results.
Causes of hernias in the groin
The cause of inguinal hernias is not always known, but they could result from weak points in the abdominal wall. The weaknesses may be due to defects present at birth or formed later in life.
Some risk factors include:
- Fluid or pressure in the abdomen.
- Lifting heavy objects, such as lifting weights.
- Repetitive effort during urination or bowel movements.
- Chronic cough.
- The pregnancy.
Both adults and children can get inguinal hernias. Men are more likely to develop an inguinal hernia. People with a history of hernias are also at increased risk of having another hernia. The second hernia usually occurs on the opposite side.
What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?
Symptoms include a lump in the groin area and pain, pressure, or pain in the lump, especially when lifting, bending, or coughing. These symptoms usually decrease during rest. Men may also have to swell around the testicles.
Sometimes you can gently push back the bulging tissue of a hernia when lying on your back. You may not notice any symptoms if your inguinal hernia is small. Consult your doctor if you suspect you might have a hernia.
Do I need an inguinal hernia repair?
Immediate surgery is not always recommended when a hernia is not causing a problem. However, it must be noted that most hernias will not resolve without treatment. They can also become more extensive and more uncomfortable over time.
Most people believe that the bulk of a hernia is painless. However, coughing, lifting, and bending can cause pain and discomfort. Your doctor may suggest surgery if:
- Your hernia is enlarged.
- The pain develops or increases.
- You have difficulty doing daily activities.
A hernia can become very dangerous if your bowels become twisted or trapped. If this happens, you may have:
- Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
- Darkening of the bulk.
- Inability to push (reduce) your hernia to the abdomen.
What are the risks associated with inguinal hernia repair?
The risks involved in any surgery include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic reactions to anesthesia and other medications.
How do I prepare for surgery?
Bring a list of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. Be sure to ask for instructions on medications you should stop taking before surgery.
This usually includes medications such as aspirin that interfere with blood’s ability to clot. It is also important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
Ask your doctor for specific instructions about the procedure and your medical condition. You should probably stop eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery. You should also arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital after the surgery.
What is the procedure for inguinal hernia repair?
Open surgery or surgery with a laparoscope can usually repair an inguinal hernia.
Your surgeon will put you under general anesthesia to keep you asleep during surgery so that you do not feel any pain. They may decide to use local anesthesia if the hernia is small. In this case, you will be awake for the procedure, but you will receive medication to numb the pain and help you relax.
Your surgeon will make an incision, locate the hernia and separate it from the surrounding tissues. Then, they will put the herniated tissue back into your abdomen.
The stitches will close the tear or strengthen the weak abdominal muscles. Your surgeon will likely adhere to a mesh to strengthen the abdominal tissues and reduce the risk of another hernia.
Not using mesh will significantly increase the chance of getting a hernia in the future. In fact, despite the recent negative press regarding the use of abdominal mesh, the use of mesh in repairing an inguinal hernia remains the standard treatment.
Laparoscopy is useful when the hernia is small and easily accessible. This method leaves scars more minor than regular surgery and a faster recovery time.