A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through the tissue around it.
There are different types of hernias, such as hiatal hernias and inguinal hernias. These are differentiated by the location that they protrude through. For example, hiatal hernias occur when the stomach protrudes through the hiatus, which is the opening in the diaphragm that the esophagus passes through.
The most common type of hernia is actually inguinal, which is characterized by part of the intestine protruding through a weak point in the abdominal wall. Generally speaking, hernias are not life-threatening as there are many treatment options available.
The Need for Surgical Treatment
Hernias are extremely variable in location and size. Therefore, the treatment that is utilized will vary from patient to patient. In most cases, the physician will recommend that the patient try non-surgical treatment methods first. Many hernias will resolve themselves over time with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medication. However, hernias can become dangerous or painful, so it is important that a physician confirm that the symptoms are indeed being caused by a hernia. It is critical that the size and location are known and monitored until the symptoms resolve.
If a hernia grows over time or is located in a position that would cause excessive pain or loss of functionality, then surgery may be the only option for treatment.
Mesh-Involving Hernia Treatment Options
If it is determined that surgery is necessary to resolve a hernia, then there are different types of surgery available. One of the newer surgical techniques that are utilized for hernia repair is laparoscopic surgery. This technique involves the physician making several small incisions through which they repair the site. However, this technique isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes, a hernia may require open hernia repair, which involves a larger incision.
Many types of hernias are best treated with the placement of surgical mesh. In mesh-involving hernia repair surgeries, the surgeon makes a larger incision and uses surgical mesh to patch the weak point in the tissue that the organ protruded through. This technique is most often utilized with inguinal hernias, but it can be used for the repair of most other types of hernia as well.
Benefits of Using Mesh
While it may seem as though laparoscopic hernia repair would be preferable in most cases because smaller incisions carry less recovery time and less risk of infection, history has shown that repairs that utilize surgical mesh actually may be better in some cases. The mesh that is placed was specifically designed with an intentionally woven pattern that helps restore the natural tension of the abdominal wall. If this surgical mesh is not utilized, the hernia will simply be repaired with stitches. These stitches carry less risk of infection because they can be placed through smaller incisions, but they are not able to restore the tension as the mesh does. Overall, cases that utilize surgical mesh have significantly lower rates of hernia recurrence.