The most common types of hernia are umbilical (belly button), incisional (resulting from an incision), femoral (outer groin), hiatal (upper stomach) and inguinal (inner groin).
People who have a laparoscopic hernia repair have less discomfort and scarring after surgery and a quicker return to normal activities compared to an open hernia repair. However, some studies indicate that hernia recurrence is more likely with laparoscopic repair than with open surgery.
Laparoscopy allows the surgeon to avoid scar tissue from an earlier hernia repair, so it might be a good choice for people whose hernias recur after traditional hernia surgery. It also might be a good choice for people with hernias on both sides of the body (bilateral).
In this minimally invasive procedure, which requires general anesthesia, the surgeon operates through several small incisions in your abdomen. Gas is used to inflate your abdomen to make the internal organs easier to see.
A small tube equipped with a tiny camera (laparoscope) is inserted into one incision. Guided by the camera, the surgeon inserts tiny instruments through other incisions to repair the hernia using synthetic mesh.
You should be able to go home the same day or the day after surgery. It's important to follow the instructions on how to look after yourself. This includes eating a good diet to avoid constipation, caring for the wound and not straining yourself too soon.
Most people make a full recovery from inguinal hernia repair within six weeks, although many people can return to driving, work and light activities within two weeks.
A laparoscopic hernia repair is a routine operation with very few risks. However, dependent on the site of the hernia and the technique used to repair it , studies have shown that up to 10% of hernias come back at some point after surgery and around 2-4% of hernias return within three years. Other potential complications of laparoscopic hernia repair include:
- blood or fluid building up in the space left by the hernia
- with inguinal hernias, painful swelling and bruising of the testicles or base of the penis (in men)
- pain and numbness caused by a nerve being damaged or trapped during surgery
- with inguinal hernias, damage to the blood supply to the testicle
- damage to the vas deferens – the tube that carries sperm to the testicles