Your surgeon’s skill and the type of hernia operation you have will influence the time it takes for you to recover and, more importantly, whether the hernia will recur.
There are two common surgical approaches: minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery or old-fashioned open surgery.
Open surgery involves larger incisions, more stitches, more trauma to surrounding tissue, and a longer recovery period than minimally invasive surgery.
With laparoscopic surgery, the hernia is repaired through small incisions, and the procedure can take as little as 15 minutes. Laparoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera and specialized surgical skill. It is often an outpatient procedure, and patients are able to return to their normal activities quickly. Laparoscopic surgery requires less anesthesia than open surgery and has less pain, less risk for infection and less scarring.
A typical laparoscopic hernia operation involves 4 small incisions – one for the camera and three through which the hands perform the procedure. “When I perform laparoscopic hernia surgery,” says laparoscopic surgeon Dr. Har Chi Lau, Medical Director of the Phelps Hernia Center, “I do everything with one hand, so only two incisions are needed – one for the camera and one for my hand.”
The tear in the muscle is repaired with surgical mesh. Preferring not to use the standard-sized mesh, Dr. Lau customizes the mesh size and shape to fit each patient exactly. This tailor-made fit ensures that the repair is solid, which is why hernia recurrence is rare among Dr. Lau’s patients.