Hernia Repair (Laparoscopic)

A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. Your muscles are usually strong and tight enough to keep your intestines and organs in place, but a hernia can develop if there are any weak spots.

An inguinal (pronounced “ingwanal”) hernia is the most common type of hernia. The hernia can appear as a swelling or lump in your groin, or as an enlarged scrotum. The swelling may be painful. The lump will often appear when you are lifting something and disappear when you lie down.

What happens?

General anaesthetic is used for keyhole inguinal hernia repair, so you will asleep during the operation. During keyhole surgery, the surgeon usually makes three small incisions in your abdomen (instead of a single, larger incision).

A thin tube containing a light source and a camera (laparoscope) is inserted through one of these incisions so the surgeon can see inside your abdomen. Special surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions so the surgeon can pull the hernia back into place.

The operation usually takes about 30-45 minutes to complete and you will usually be able to go home on the same day.

What are the risks?

After having the procedure you may get some temporary side-effects including:

• Difficulty passing urine
• Pain, numbness, swelling or bruising in your abdominal and groin area
• Some scrotal swelling for a few days, if you are a man

As with every procedure, there are some risks associated with abdominal hernia repair. Specific complications include:

• Infection
• Build up of blood or fluid in the space left by the hernia
• Painful swelling of the scrotum or testicles, if you are a man
• Damage to tissues in your abdomen, such as the bladder or bowel
• Damage to nerves, resulting in numbness in the groin area
• Re-occurrence – the hernia may develop again

Ask your consultant to explain how any risks might apply to you.