Abdominal wall hernias can occur in people of any age, including infants. However, the risk of developing a hernia tends to increase as you age. Most abdominal wall hernias are caused by an area of weakness in the abdominal walls. A number of different factors can contribute to the development of that weakness. These factors include:
- Chronic coughing
- Collagen vascular disease
- Frequent heavy lifting
- Genetic defects
- History of previous hernias
- Infection (especially following surgery)
- Injuries to the abdominal area
- Straining during bowel movements or urination
- Surgical openings
Abdominal wall hernias that have no associated symptoms may not require any treatment at all. Your doctor will discuss your options with you which may include surgery or watchful waiting.
Larger hernias, however, or hernias that are causing pain, may require surgical repair to relieve pain as well as to prevent complications.
There are two types of surgical hernia repair:
- Open Surgery
- Minimally Invasive Surgery
The type of surgery chosen will depend on the severity and type of hernia you’ve developed, the anticipated recovery time, your past medical and surgical history.
Open Surgery: During this procedure, surgeon will make a small incision into your groin, and then push the protruding tissue back into your abdomen. Surgeon will then sew up the weakened area. In some cases, your surgeon will use a mesh to reinforce that weakened area.
Open surgery can be performed either with general anesthesia or with sedation or local anesthesia.
After your surgery, it might be several weeks before you’re able to fully resume your normal activities. However, it’s still important that you begin moving about again as soon as possible for a healthier recovery.
Minimally Invasive Surgery: Minimally invasive surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia.
During this procedure, surgeon will make a few small incisions in your abdomen. Your surgeon will then inflate your abdomen, using a special gas, in order to make your internal organs easier to see.
Your surgeon will then insert a small, narrow tube into one of the incisions in your abdomen. This tube has a tiny camera, or laparoscope, at the end of it. That camera serves as a kind of guide for your surgeon, who is then able to insert surgical instruments through the other incisions in your abdomen. Your surgeon will repair the hernia using and may use mesh.
Patients who are candidates for minimally invasive surgery may experience less scarring and discomfort following surgery than those who undergo open surgery. Patients may also be able to return more quickly to their normal activities.