The preferred surgical approach for the correction of inguinal hernias (one of the commonest types of hernia which is located in the groin) is the laparoscopic approach. This is also referred to as 'minimally invasive surgery' or colloquially as 'keyhole surgery'. The laparoscopic approach has a high success rate (~99%) and also significantly reduces post-operative pain.
How should I prepare for surgery?
The day before admission we will contact you to confirm admission time and to give you instructions regarding any fasting requirements for the procedure. You should bring any x-rays in with you (and ensure you take them with you when you are discharged). Also bring any current medication in with you to the hospital.
For day procedures you should not drive yourself home when you are discharged - please ensure you have made other transport arrangements.
If you smoke, you should reduce smoking before your procedure. Our strong recommendation is that you give up entirely at least 6 weeks before the procedure, or at least one week beforehand. Smoking greatly increases the possibility of chest infection and hampers natural wound healing.
In the case of major surgery, please inform Dr White's team if you take:
- Anti-inflammatory medication.
We will need to discuss these medications with you prior to your surgery.
Dr White will provide you with a full set of pre-operative instructions for your specific surgery well ahead of the day of surgery.
What is involved in the procedure?
Using laparoscopic surgery for hernia correction minimises the size of the incision/s made to the abdomen compared to conventional 'open' surgery – three very small incisions are made to the lower abdomen to allow access to the abdominal cavity. Through these incisions ('ports') specialised surgical equipment is inserted, along with a camera and light so that the surgeon can visualise the procedure.
The hernia is corrected and a section of medical mesh is placed over the weak area of the muscle wall (which allowed the hernia to develop) to prevent a hernia developing again. In most cases the entire procedure can be conducted laparoscopically, however in some cases conventional open surgery may be required, in which case a slightly longer incision to the groin is required.
Levels of post-operative pain can be high with this procedure, and generally last for around 48 hours after surgery. We recommend managing this pain with the following regime – a combination Panadol and Nurofen:
- 2 tablets of Panadol every 4-6 hours
- 2 tablets of Nurofen every 8 hours.
If this does not adequately cope with the pain, you may wish to switch to Panadeine Forte (2 tablets every 8 hours), although this medication does have side effects, commonly constipation and a sedative effect.
NOTE: Some people are not able to take Nurofen as it contains Ibuprofen - check with your doctor first if you are in doubt.
When you return home after surgery, you will find the wound/s dressed with Steri Strips and an outer dressing. The outer dressing is waterproof so you are able to shower with it on. The dressing itself can be removed 48 hours after surgery, however you should not attempt to remove the Steri Strips - these will come off naturally. This approach means there is no requirement to return to have stitches removed.
You should allow a recuperation period of 5-7 days minimum after this procedure – during this time you should rest (i.e. nothing more than very light physical activity) and not go to work. General domestic day-to-day activity can then be gradually reintroduced and you can return to work at this point, as long as work does not involve any heavy physical component. Normal activity can generally be resumed 28 days after the procedure.
As a general guide, we suggest you monitor your pain levels during the recovery period – any onset of pain is an indication you may need take things more slowly. A hernia can reform if it is placed under too much strain at too early a stage after surgery.
You should wear the pair of support stockings you are given after surgery for 14 days after the procedure. These will aid your recovery.
You can drive again 6 days after the procedure.
Generally, you can return to sport 2-3 weeks after surgery, or where the surgery was conventional 'open' surgery, 5-6 weeks.
There is likely to be some pain - bruising in the groin area and bruising/pain in the scrotum and penis is normal; generally, this only lasts 7-14 days after surgery.
All types of surgery are subject to the following risks, which are rare, but can occur:
- Allergic reaction to medication / anaesthetic.
- Difficulty breathing.
Risks relating to hernia repair surgery also include:
- Hernia may recur.
- Continual pain at hernia site.
- Blood vessel damage (which may affect the testicles in males).
- Nerve damage.
- Damage to organs in proximity to hernia site.
When you should get in contact with Dr White
Most surgical procedures are uneventful, with minimal complications. However, you need to be aware of the following symptoms as they may indicate a developing serious complication...
- Excess bleeding.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Severe or increasing pain.
If you experience any of these symptoms or have any concerns after your surgery, please contact the rooms on 07 5598 0955 for advice.
A post operative appointment will be made for you before you are discharged from hospital. If you are discharged on a weekend, after normal surgery hours or it is not clear what follow up appointments are required, then contact the rooms the next working day to make an appointment.