Hernia Repair – Much Easier Now Than in the Past
Decades ago, a hernia diagnosis meant the need for open surgery, resulting in large incisions and scaring, a typical postoperative hospital stay of several days and an uncomfortable recovery period of up to several weeks. These conditions meant patients were not able to return to work quickly as desired, as well as a lengthy timeframe of limited physical activities. Understandably, patients were often reluctant to seek surgical treatment for hernia repair knowing what would likely lie ahead. Oh, how times have changed!
Today’s Hernia Repair Surgery – Definitely Not Your Father’s Hernia Surgery
With the development of laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery specifically addressing hernias in the 1990’s, surgical repair of the condition became much more accessible, manageable and above all, presented faster recovery periods for patients. This is attributable to laparoscopic surgery’s small “keyhole” incisions, placed strategically on the abdomen to both maximize access to the affected area as well as minimize recovery periods due to smaller incisions. In fact, in most cases patients can walk out of the hospital the same day as their procedure, experience much less postoperative pain and can be back to work in just a week or two. Unfortunately, however, the perception persists that hernia surgery means patients have to put life on hold for weeks. This is simply no longer the case.
By the Numbers
It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of the population is confronted by some type of hernia issue throughout their lives. Hernias impact all age groups, including infants, children, teenagers and adults. Each year, approximately 500,000 hernia surgeries are performed in the United States, but it is suspected that an even larger number of patients suffering from hernias delay treatment hoping the issue will go away on its own. The reality is, however, hernias do not repair themselves and if left untreated, severe cases can progress to the point where patients can find themselves in the emergency room.
Getting Back to an Active Life
The good news is that proper treatment and recovery from hernias is very achievable when discussed with a primary care physician or surgeon upon discovery of possible hernia-related abdominal pain or bulging. After a typically brief postoperative recovery period, it is common for patients to feel like themselves in just a couple weeks.