Hernias are common medical conditions in the United States with approximately 600,000 hernia repair operations performed each year. Dr. Sean Yuan offers expert hernia repair services from his practice, Potts Surgical Associates, located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when there is an opening in a person’s abdominal wall that occurs when the muscle has weakened. This weak spot or hole allows interior tissue or organ, such as the intestine, to bulge through the space, resulting in a small sac. This condition is painful and could result in serious medical issues requiring emergency care. Hernias can be congenital, meaning you are born with it, or they can develop over time. Hernias develop following heavy strain on the abdominal wall from heavy lifting, constipation, or even coughing too much or too hard. Once a hernia appears, it will need medical attention. They do not get better or go away on their own.
How are hernias repaired?
While some hernias require traditional open surgeries, Dr. Yuan tries to perform laparoscopic hernia repairs whenever possible. Laparoscopic procedures allow the doctor to access the hernia and place a biocompatible mesh support onto the weakened or torn area through small incisions with specially designed instruments. The mesh acts like a scaffold in the body and supports the abdominal muscles. Laparoscopic surgeries are preferred because they present less risk than traditional open surgeries and patients have faster and easier recoveries.
What happens after surgery?
After the hernia repair is complete, you will spend a few hours in recovery until the sedation wears off completely. Once you are awake and able to drink liquids, urinate, pass wind, and walk, you will be able to go home. Most patients experience some soreness after surgery, but it can typically be managed with over the counter pain medication. You should be able to move around without assistance within 24 hours of the procedure and return to normal activities within a week. Dr. Yuan will recommend that you avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for a few weeks. You will have a follow-up appointment approximately two weeks after the surgery to confirm success and check in on your health.