A physical examination by your doctor should be enough to determine the disease. Your doctor will check for a bulge or protrusion around the groin area, which will become more prominent when you stand or cough. In rare cases, when the bulge is not clearly visible, your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as an MRI, CT scan, or an abdominal ultrasound.
Inguinal hernias can sometimes be asymptomatic, meaning they can show no signs of pain or protrusion. Doctors usually recommend watchful waiting if the symptoms are very mild. However, if you experience severe pain, it can lead to complications and should not be ignored. The only treatment to permanently repair an inguinal hernia is via surgery. There are two types of general surgeries done for the treatment of inguinal hernia.
- Open Surgery - In open surgery, the surgeon makes a big incision to get a full view of the structure and organs inside the body. It is usually done under general or local anesthesia so that the patient experiences minimum pain. The surgeon pushes the bulge back into your abdomen and shuts the wound with the help of surgical thread or sutures. Sometimes, surgeons may choose to insert surgical mesh for additional support to the abdominal wall. Since open surgery is a conventional method of treatment, its characteristics are as follows -
- Involves big cuts/incisions
- Recovery time is around three weeks
- Higher blood loss
Laparoscopic Surgery - Laparoscopy is an advanced method of treating inguinal hernia using a piece of equipment called a Laparoscope. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision around the abdomen and inserts a laparoscope through this incision. The camera on the other end of this device gives a clear view of the organs and tissues inside the abdomen.
The surgeon monitors the pictures externally through a screen, locates the region of the hernia, and treats it accordingly. The treatment may also involve the use of surgical mesh for additional reinforcement or support around the abdominal wall. Laparoscopy is considered a modern approach for inguinal hernia treatment due to the following characteristics -
- Minimal incision
- Resume work within two to three days after the treatment.
- Almost no blood loss
- Chances of reoccurrence are almost nil
Surgical mesh is an integral part of hernia repair surgery. It is a medical device that supports the damaged tissues around the hernia. The surgeons use surgical mesh during the invasive treatment to add extra strength or reinforcement to the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall can lose its strength due to aging, which can increase the chances of recurrence. Surgery via hernia mesh can decrease the chances of recurrence.