Hernia RepairWHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Hernias erupt when a weakened abdominal muscle tears open, permitting the organs inside to pushthrough. Typically, a hernia will pouch out, looking like a balloon beneath the skin. Two areas areespecially vulnerable. Inguinal (IN-gwih-null) hernias appear at the point where the leg joins theabdomen. Men feel this type of hernia as a lump in the scrotum. Umbilical (um-BILL-ih-kull) hernias cropup at the navel. Surgical scars present yet another opportunity for hernias---in this case called incisionalhernias. A hernia repair is known medically as a herniorrhaphy (HER-nee-OR-uh-fee). Two techniques arein use today:
In this approach, the doctor makes a single long incision over the hernia,removes the protruding sac if necessary, and sews the torn muscle closed. Man-made mesh maybe applied to the inside of the muscle wall to further strengthen it. The operation typically takesbetween 1 and 2 hours.
This version of the procedure is accomplished through twosmall incisions, one in the abdomen, the other close to the hernia. With the aid of a tiny lightedscope, the surgeon uses miniature, remote-controlled surgical instruments to make the repairfrom within the abdomen. Like an open herniorrhaphy, the procedure lasts 1 to 2 hours.
There are always risks with surgery. You might develop internal bleeding or get an infection.Blood clots could form and lodge in the lungs, making it difficult to breath. However, if the hernia isn't repaired,there's a chance that a portion of the intestine will get stuck in it. Starved of adequate circulation, thistissue could eventually die, leading to a life-threatening case of gangrene.
IF YOU'RE HEADING FOR THE HOSPITAL...Before You Go
The Week Before Surgery:
2.You'll probably need to stop taking aspirin and ibuprofen; the doctor will tell you when. If you'retaking aspirin for your heart, don't stop without asking the doctor first. Also ask whether you can takeany over-the-counter medicines.3.Your doctor will tell you whether you need to have blood drawn.
The Night Before Surgery:
5.Your physician may suggest you take a sleeping pill.6.Just before surgery, you should not eat or drink anything (even water). Your doctor will tell youwhen to begin fasting.
When You Arrive
Check with your doctor before taking insulin, diabetes pills,blood pressuremedicine, heart pills,or any other medication on the day of surgery.2.Do not wear contact lenses to the hospital. You may wear glasses.
What to Expect While You're There
You may encounter the following procedures and equipment during your stay.
Taking Vital Signs:
These include your temperature, blood pressure, pulse (counting yourheartbeats), and respirations (counting your breaths). A stethoscope is used to listen to your heart andlungs. Your blood pressure is taken by wrapping a cuff around your arm.
You may need blood taken for tests. It can be drawn from a vein in your hand orfrom the bend in your elbow. Several samples may be needed.
The doctor will check this picture of your lungs and heart to make sure you'reready for surgery.
(Also called an electrocardiogram [e-LEK-tro-KAR-di-o-gram] or EKG). Typically,three to five sticky pads are placed on different parts of your body. Each pad has a wire that is hooked toa TV-type screen or to a small portable box (telemetry unit) that shows a tracing of each heartbeat.
A tube placed in your vein for giving medicine or liquids. It will be capped or have tubingconnected to it.
With a little clip connected to your ear, finger, or toe, this machine measuresthe oxygen in your blood.
You'll need a pain-killer during the operation. For this type of surgery, the followingoptions are available:
This type of anesthesia requires an injection in the spine. You will be awakeduring surgery but will be numb below the waist. Feeling will return in about 2 hours.
For this type, a tiny tube is positioned near the spine, allowingadministration of additional medication during the operation. You will be awake during surgery but willbe numb below the waist. Feeling will return to your legs when the anesthesia wears off.
This alternative puts you completely to sleep throughout the operation. The anesthetic is given either as a liquid in your IV or as a gas through a face mask or endotracheal(END-o-TRA-kee-ull) tube placed in your mouth and throat.
The incision will be bandaged to keep the area clean and prevent infection. (A nurse may briefly removethe bandage and check the stitches shortly after surgery.) You'll need to stay in bed until the doctor saysit's safe to get up. As you begin your recovery, you can expect the following:
At times during your stay, your body may need extra oxygen. It is given either througha plastic mask over your mouth and nose or through nasal prongs. If the oxygen dries out your nose or