Always looking for a weak spot, a hernia is bound to come through. Given the right conditions part of the intestine can break through the muscle wall.
“We talk about various hernias -the abdominal hernia, an umbilical hernia or it could be an incisional hernia,” says Dr. Bertrand Fonji, general surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.
One of the more common is the inguinal or groin hernia. Found mostly in men, it looks like a lump under the skin near the thigh, usually the result of excessive strain.
“People whose activity, day-to-day job involves a lot of heavy lifting. So they get a lot of inguinal hernias. Weight lifters may get them as well. Usually its men between 25 and 35,” says Dr. Fonji.
The hernia is a problem if it causes pain or discomfort.
“The danger in not doing anything about it is when your bowel goes into defect. Your bowel gets triangulated there and you become very, very sick,” says Dr. Fonji.
Hernias in the groin are well positioned for a laparoscopic technique. Operating through several small openings instead of a large incision makes the recovery more comfortable because there are fewer traumas to an area that gets a lot of movement when you’re sitting or changing positions.
“Laparoscopically, we don’t actually make the incisions there. We make the incisions just below the belly button. So it’s easier for you to recover and you’re not constantly flexing it along the wound,” says Dr. Fonji.
Benefits of less invasive, less traumatic surgery are less pain, less blood loss and a faster return to action.
“Usually after surgery we tell the patient not to lift anything over 10 pounds anywhere from one to two weeks after a laparoscopic approach,” says Dr. Fonji.