Don’t Let These Common Myths Keep You From Hernia Surgery
Hernias are common. When the muscles holding your organs in place tear or weaken, internal organs can push through the weakened area. This causes a bulge or protrusion, also known as a hernia.
Because hernias don’t always cause pain or discomfort, you might put off seeing your doctor right away, especially since treatment most often requires hernia surgery. Reluctance to have any surgery is normal. It’s possible, though, that your concerns come from some common myths about the surgery and recovery process.
The surgeons of General and Vascular Surgery (GVS) understand. As leaders in general surgery, we are committed to using advanced surgical methods, including minimally-invasive laparoscopy and robotic procedures. Our goal is to provide the best possible care, to reduce recovery time, and get you back to your life quickly (and safely!) If you’ve been putting off hernia surgery, the physicians of GVS want you to know: “It’s Time.”
Clearing Up Misconceptions About Surgery to Repair a Hernia
When your doctor recommends a surgical repair for a hernia, it’s normal to have concerns. Asking questions, doing your research, and watching hernia surgery videos to learn more is helpful. Your doctor will also provide reliable resources, which should clear up the following myths:
Mesh Repairs Are Dangerous
During hernia surgery, the doctor moves the herniated organ back into place, then stitches the hole in the muscle wall closed. Sometimes, a piece of surgical mesh is placed over the hole to provide extra support.
For adults with inguinal hernias (a hernia in the groin), mesh repair is the standard of care, as it reduces the risk of recurrence. But, you may have heard that surgical repairs that use mesh are more painful, increase risk of infection, or have other complications. Many of these complications, however, were associated with recalled mesh products. Mesh hernia repair is safe and effective and can reduce discomfort and inguinal hernia surgery recovery time.
Hernias Heal on Their Own
A small hernia that doesn’t cause any discomfort might have you thinking it has healed. Unfortunately, this is atypical. A hernia can get bigger over time, or lead to complications (such as a strangulated hernia). See more about this in No. 4 below.
Hernia Surgery Approaches Are All the Same
There are two hernia surgery types. Depending on your situation, the surgeon will perform either laparoscopic or open surgery. Laparoscopic surgery involves inserting a thin tube with a camera on the end into an incision near the hernia. The camera images guide the hernia repair using miniscule tools. Open hernia repair involves a larger incision. Laparoscopic surgery is typically an outpatient procedure and offers faster recovery time.
Risk for Delayed Surgery is the Norm
When hernias are small and easily pushed back into the abdomen, doctors may recommend a “wait and see” approach. But, surgery is typically necessary sooner rather than later. Untreated hernias can get worse, and there’s a risk for strangulation. This means that blood flow to the herniated organ is cut off, which can cause the organ to die. Prompt hernia repair prevents this emergency.
Risk of Surgical Complications is High
As with any surgery, there’s a risk of complications. Infection, pain, or recurrence after hernia surgery, however, are rare. More than 20 million people worldwide have hernias repaired every year, but fewer than 5% have complications in the days and weeks after surgery.
Turn to General & Vascular Surgery for Your Hernia Repair
Although it’s normal to be apprehensive about any surgery, there’s no need to live with the discomfort of a hernia. Reach out to a doctor or call us at 574-236-1888 to discuss your options and get back to your life.