Hernia Repair


Inguinal, Umbilical, and Hiatal Hernia Surgery

You can trust your hernia repair to the skilled, board-certified surgeons at Alabama Surgical Associates (ASA) in Huntsville.
A hernia occurs when inner layers of abdominal muscle become weakened. The lining of the abdomen then bulges out into a small sac, and part of the intestine or abdominal tissue may enter the sac. Hernias occur most commonly in the groin (inguinal hernia), the navel (umbilical hernia), and at the incision site of a previous surgery. A hiatal hernia occurs when the lower part of the esophagus and a portion of the stomach are pushed above the esophagus.

Some people with hernias remain relatively free from symptoms. But a hernia can cause severe pain and other potentially serious problems, such as infection and bowel obstruction. A hernia repair can only be done through surgery, as they do not resolve on their own.

Hernia Surgery Procedure – Open Surgery vs. Laparoscopic Hernia Repair

Surgical methods currently employed to repair hernias include open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. A hiatal hernia is corrected by a surgical procedure called Nissen fundoplication.

During open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision near the location of the hernia and carefully opens the hernia sac, placing the intestine or other tissue back inside the abdomen. The weakened area is repaired and reinforced with a synthetic mesh or a suture that pulls the abdominal muscle tissue back together. If you have this type of hernia repair, the entire procedure takes about 1 hour in adults and 30 minutes in children.

In the case of laparoscopic surgery, four or five tiny incisions are made in the area around the hernia instead of one long incision. A device called a laparoscope, which is a miniature scope attached to a video camera, is inserted into one of the incisions. This allows the surgeon to see the hernia and the surrounding tissue and organs on a video screen. Instruments used to repair the hernia are inserted through the other incisions and the operation proceeds in much the same way as open surgery.

Advantages of having laparoscopic hernia repair include shorter recovery time and less post-operative pain. A disadvantage is that it must be performed under general anesthesia, which carries more risks than local or epidural anesthesia. Laparoscopic hernia repair has only been used for a few years, and while research shows it to be safe and effective, long-term results are unavailable.

Not everyone is a good candidate for laparoscopic surgery. You may not be eligible if you have health problems which prohibit the use of general anesthesia, are obese, or have large amounts of scar tissue on your abdomen.