Repairing an inguinal hernia is a straightforward procedure, often performed as day surgery. Either a local or general anaesthetic can be used, depending on the location or size of the hernia and the health and age of the patient. The hernia may be repaired either by open surgery, in which a 5–7 cm (2–3 in) incision is made in the skin, or by endoscopic (“keyhole”) surgery. Whichever technique is used, the contents of the hernia are repositioned and the overlying defect in the muscle is repaired. In most cases, the defect is repaired using a synthetic mesh, which significantly reduces the chance of the hernia recurring. After the operation, you will be encouraged to resume normal activities rapidly, although there may be some discomfort for several days; your surgeon will advise you when you can safely resume strenuous activities such as heavy lifting.
An incision is made through the layers of skin and fat to uncover the hernia. The intestine is then repositioned inside the abdominal cavity.
A piece of synthetic mesh is then positioned either above or below the muscle (as here). The mesh is held in place with staples or stitches. Eventually, tissue grows through the mesh, creating an even stronger repair.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.