Groin hernia, also known as Inguinal hernia, is a type of hernia that occurs mostly in the groin area. It is one of the most commonly occurring hernias with around 27% men and 3% women running the risk of developing hernia during their lifetime. It develops when one or more internal organs such as fatty tissue or part of your small intestine pushes through a weakened spot in the abdominal wall, resulting in a protruding bulge. Hernias occur mostly in the area between your rib cage and groin.
Though inguinal hernia is not life-threatening (in most cases), it can disrupt the day to day life of the person having this condition. The pain can be such that it might keep the person away from work for several days. It is, therefore, important to get this condition treated as soon as possible. In this post, we therefore, list the treatment options for treating hernia and which one’s the best for you. But, before we discuss that, let’s first have a look at the symptoms of hernia that you shouldn’t overlook.
Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia
Though most hernias don’t show any signs, inguinal hernia is easily noticeable because of the bulge near the groin area. It becomes all the more noticeable when a person with hernia stands up or coughs. Some other symptoms of inguinal hernia include.
- Pain when exercising, bending over or coughing
- Occasional pain or swelling in the testicles
- Aching or burning sensation
- Heaviness in the groin area
- Swelling in the scrotum
The sooner the condition gets diagnosed, the better it is. If you have been facing any of the symptoms mentioned above and want to find out whether you have inguinal hernia, go for a physical exam wherein your doctor will most likely ask you to stand and cough, for diagnostic purpose. Just in case, the physical exam isn’t readily apparent; your doctor might advise you to go for an abdominal ultrasound, MRI or CT scan.
If one has a small hernia or there aren’t any symptoms that suggest the condition, the doctor would follow a wait-and-watch approach. In case the symptoms or diagnosis clearly indicate a hernia, surgery is the primary treatment suggested for treating the condition. There are three types of surgeries for treating inguinal hernia – Open Hernia Surgery, Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery, and Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery.
1. Open Hernia Surgery
It is one of the most common techniques used for hernia repair and is suitable for elderly people or patients who are not eligible for Laparoscopic or Extraperitoneal Repair Surgery. For example – It is advisable for patients who unable to have general anesthesia. However, as Open Hernia Surgery is more invasive, with larger incision and surgical dissection, it is not advisable for obese patients.
2. Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
It is a less common treatment for hernia repair. It is suitable for those who have had previous robotic prostatectomy or hysterectomy. And as Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery is less invasive and requires less surgical dissection, it is suitable for the obese patients.
3. Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery
This is the most advanced technique for treating hernia in patients. It is ideal for unilateral, bilateral and recurrent hernia repair. Unlike Open Hernia Surgery, that is more invasive, Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery is the least invasive and requires minimal surgical dissection. It is, therefore, the most recommended type of hernia repair surgeries especially for obese patients.
Other Benefits of Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery
Being the least invasive is just one of the many benefits of Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery over other types of hernia repair surgeries. Some other benefits of Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery are as follows.
Patients undergoing Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery experience less pain both postoperative and long-term chronic nerve pain. That’s because in this type of surgery there’s minimal muscle and nerve damage.
Lower rate of hernia recurrence
The recurrence rates are highest in Open Hernia Surgery, lower in Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery and least in Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery.
Patients who undergo Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery return to normalcy more quickly. It takes them around 1-2 weeks for a patient to return to normal activities. (e.g. Work, Sports etc)
The mesh used in an Open Hernia Surgery is a heavier prolene mesh. The Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery, on the other hand, uses a lightweight mesh.
There is a rare possibility of injury to major blood vessels in a Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery. Whereas there are chances of possible chronic pain, numbness, and infection in Open Hernia Surgery. Similarly, there is a high risk of adhesion and bowel injury in Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery. There is no such risk in Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery.
Low Infection rates
Unlike Open Hernia Surgery that has one of the highest infection rates reported post surgery, Total Extraperitoneal Hernia Surgery has the lowest infection rates reported post surgery
Don’t let groin pain from an inguinal hernia hold you back. Consult a qualified surgeon and go for early surgical treatment if they suggest you so.