A hernia occurs due to a weakness in the muscles of the abdomen or pelvis. Usually, people feel a bulge under their skin or a dull ache in the abdominal area for a while, just as Rohit Gupta did when he was diagnosed with a hernia.
“I’d been feeling this bulge for a while” Rohit told us “and it would become larger when I coughed or bent down to pick up something heavy. My doctor had already told me that I would need a surgery, but I was a little afraid of the surgical scars and the pain afterwards. So I didn’t schedule a surgery right away.”
Gradually, Rohit’s symptoms worsened and he began to feel a strain during urination or bowel movements. “Waiting as long as Rohit had waited is not recommended” Dr. A.K. Kriplani, Senior Consultant of General Surgery and specialist for laparoscopic hernia surgery at Sitaram Bhartia tells us. “A hernia is a minor issue if it’s treated in time. But, if it’s left untreated, it could become serious. The intestine could get trapped in the hernia and the blood supply could get cut off.”
Although Rohit’s apprehensions were understandable, a delay in the surgery was also not advisable because of the nature of his ailment. “There are no medications for fixing a hernia” says Dr. Kriplani. “It can only be repaired by a surgery.”
Laparoscopic Surgery and Hernia Repair
Initially, Rohit assumed he would get a cut on his abdomen and a long scar after surgery, but he was pleasantly surprised after speaking to Dr. Kriplani about it. “Once I learned about laparoscopic hernia repair and the process used, I willing to go through the surgery” Rohit told us.
To do a laparoscopic hernia repair, the surgeon inserts a camera through the belly button by making a small cut. “The laparoscopic surgery allows the surgeon to have a clear view of the abdomen and to repair the hernia from the inside” explains Dr. Kriplani.
A laparoscopic operation also has other advantages. For instance, it is less painful than open surgery because a small cut is made on the abdominal area instead of near the sensitive groin area. “The cut is so small, we don’t need to apply stitches or clips” says Dr. Kriplani. “All of these factors lead to a faster recovery.” Almost 25% of patients with hernia have groin hernia on both sides. Wheres open surgery requires a separate cut on the second side, in laparoscopic hernia surgery the second hernia can be repaired through the same puncture, without an additional cut. At Sitaram Bhartia Hospital cost for this surgery is reasonable as compared with other hospitals.
After Care for a Hernia Surgery
Rohit had a successful surgery and like most people, he was discharged on the day after the operation. “My doctors told me I was in fairly good health and I no medical reasons to prevent a timely discharge.” A hernia patient who qualifies for surgery should be fit for anesthesia, this aspect is checked by the anaesthesia specialist and if any treatments are required eg. improving the blood sugar, this is done and only when cleared, is the patient taken for surgery.
“Most people are able to return to work as soon as 5-7 days after the surgery. With laparoscopic repair their return to normal activities like driving, travelling & exercising is much faster than open surgery” says Dr. Kriplani. “But you still need to be a little careful. Make sure you avoid long working hours and getting fatigued in the first few days.”
Dr. Kriplani also wants to draw attention to the quality of care people receive from a surgeon. “We have had a zero recurrence rate because of our laparoscopic procedures” he says. “And our recurrence rates for multiple hernias is less than 1%. It’s important for people to ask about the surgeon’s success rates because if a hernia surgery is not done well, you may have to face the same issue and pain once again.”
Rohit has been recovering well since his laparoscopic hernia repair surgery and he’s very happy he was able to take advantage of this procedure. “I knew I shouldn’t be ignoring the pain I felt in my side, but I was afraid of how much time I would take to heal afterwards. I’m glad I’m living an active life the I way I used to before the problem developed.”