A weak spot in our abdominal musculature results in protrusion of an internal organ or fat through it resulting in a hernia. This weakness in muscles can be congenital or can occur due to excessive strain on the muscles due to multiple pregnancies, after abdominal surgeries, chronic cough or recurrent constipation. Based on the site and cause of hernia, there are different types as follows:
1. Inguinal: commonest type, also known as groin hernia. Very common in males.
2. Umbilical: another common type
3. Epigastric: usually contain fat
4. Femoral: rare hernia, more common in females
5. Incisional: following any abdominal surgery
Signs and symptoms:
Usually patients notice a swelling which increases on straining and decreases on lying down and relaxing. It may be associated with mild to severe pain and discomfort.
When the protruded intestine gets stuck in the muscle defect and can’t return to the abdominal cavity, its blood supply gets cut off and can result in death of that part of the intestine(called strangulation). This becomes a surgical emergency.
Types of surgery:
A) Open: the hernia is approached through an open incision and repaired with a mesh to give extra strength to the muscles and close the weak defect.
B) Laparoscopic: small incisions are used to repair the hernia and place a mesh.
Advantages of laparoscopic approach:
Small cuts on skin, minimum pain, faster recovery, early return to work, both side hernias can be repaired with the same cuts without any extra pain.
Advantages of open approach:
better in strangulated hernias, lesser cost