What's The Difference Between Open Surgery And Laparoscopic Surgery For Repairing An Abdominal Hernia?

An abdominal hernia occurs when your small intestines push through a weak area in your abdominal muscles, leaving them on the outside of your abdominal cavity. Hernias can be painful, and they can even be life-threatening in some cases. Your abdominal muscles can clamp down on the portion of the small intestine that's outside of your abdominal cavity, cutting off its blood supply and causing the tissue to die, which can lead to a fatal infection.

Treating your hernia will reduce the pain it causes and eliminate the chance that it will strangle the small intestine that is protruding from your abdominal muscles. The only way to completely treat a hernia is surgery. Your small intestine needs to be pushed back into your abdominal cavity and your abdominal muscles need to be reinforced to prevent your small intestines from protruding through the weak spot again.

Open hernia repair surgery and laparoscopic repair surgery are the most common options for treating an abdominal hernia. While both can successfully repair a hernia, they differ in their surgical approach. To learn more about the differences between the two, read on.

Open Hernia Repair Surgery

During open hernia repair surgery, a surgeon will use a scalpel to make an incision into the skin above your hernia to expose it. After the incision has been made, the surgeon will push your small intestine back into your abdominal cavity, suture the gap in your abdominal muscles closed, and graft a surgical mesh to the weak area to make it stronger. Once the surgical mesh has been applied to your abdominal muscles, the surgeon will close the incision in your skin to complete the surgery.

Laparoscopic Hernia Repair Surgery

Laparoscopic hernia surgery can repair a hernia without making a long incision into your skin. During laparoscopic surgery, a surgeon will make small, cross-shaped incisions into your skin near the location of your hernia. A fiber-optic scope attached to a rod will be inserted into one of these incisions so that the surgeon can see the hernia. Once the surgeon sees the hernia on the camera, they'll insert a suturing tool into one of the small incisions, push your small intestines back into your abdominal cavity and close the gap in your abdominal wall. They'll also use the suturing tool to graft a mesh onto your abdominal muscles to reinforce them.

Laparoscopic surgery has the major benefit of not requiring a large incision to repair your hernia. The small incisions used for laparoscopic surgery heal quicker and are less likely to cause pain, which makes laparoscopic hernia repair surgery easier to recover from.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to use laparoscopic surgery to repair your hernia if it's very large. Open surgery needs to be used instead to ensure that the whole gap in your abdominal muscles has been sutured and grafted.

Since laparoscopic surgery is the preferable option because of its faster recovery time, it's a good idea to have your hernia surgically repaired as soon as possible. Hernias tend to grow larger over time as more of your small intestine pushes through the weak spot in your abdominal wall. If you have an abdominal hernia, schedule an appointment with a surgeon who performs hernia repair surgery in your area and ask if laparoscopic surgery is an option. Treating your hernia before it grows too large means you'll be able to take advantage of laparoscopic surgery's quicker recovery time.