Does everybody need an operation?
Generally an operation is recommended if there is an obvious lump or if it is causing symptoms. Sometimes small hernias are picked up on a scan. These do not necessarily need surgery unless they cause symptoms.
If your general health is poor then we may recommend not having surgery.
Are there different operations?
Each type of hernia is treated slightly differently, but the principles are the same i.e. reduce the hernia and strengthen the area generally with a mesh.
However you can open surgery or Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. Generally for one side uncomplicated hernias we recommend open repair.
Laparoscopic repair always needs a general anesthetic. Open repair can be done either under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Our preference is local anesthesia
All of these options will be discussed with you during your consultation.
What are the results?
The results are extremely good. The vast majority should recover with any problems. You can be up and about the next day. Most patients need painkillers for about a week afterward. Once pain free you can return to driving. You can return to exercise in about 4-6 weeks time.
We will be watching out for infection (less than 5%). You are very likely to feel bruised in the area and in the groin the bruise and swelling can spread to the scrotum. This will however settle completely. You may have some loss of sensation around the wound.
What are the complications?
The risk of complications is small.
Infection needing antibiotics will affect a small number of patients.
In inguinal hernias there is a 2-3% risk of long term pain (>6months)around the scar. This is usually because of nerve involvement in the scar tissue.
In inguinal hernias the hernia lies next to the blood supply to the testicle. Hence there is a rare incidence of injury to the blood supple which can permanently damage the testicle.
Laparoscopic repair has the risk of major damage to nerves blood vessels and bowel but it is rare.