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What’s It Like? ... to get a hernia repaired

General surgeons frequently repair hernias. A hernia is simply a hole in the body in a place it doesn’t belong. Dr. Daniel Isbell, of Norman Regional Health System, explains what it’s like to have a hernia repaired.

BY JACLYN COSGROVE Published: October 7, 2012
/articleid/3716605/1/pictures/1850935">Photo - Dr. Daniel Isbell talks about hernia repair  in Norman.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Dr. Daniel Isbell talks about hernia repair in Norman. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

If it’s a small hernia and a surgeon can operate through your belly button, then you probably won’t experience pain lasting longer than a few days.

For people with larger hernias, their repair might require a few days in the hospital and IV pain medication after the surgery.

What are the risk factors?

With any surgery, there’s a risk of infection and bleeding. With groin hernia repair, there’s a risk of long-term chronic pain. Some doctors say doing that procedure laparoscopically decreases the risk.

Depending on a surgeon’s experience, you could have an increased risk of recurrence if the procedure is done through a laparoscopic repair.

There is also some risk to leaving the hernia alone. If the hernia is growing or causing you pain, it is best to talk with your doctor and see what’s recommended.

When you’re considering any surgery, you should ask your doctor any questions you might have. Also, it’s important to research a procedure to be able to ask any and all questions you might have.

What’s the recovery time?

The time it takes to recover will depend on how extensive the surgery was. You might be placed on some lifting restrictions, depending on where the repair was made.

If you have a large hernia and require abdominal surgery, you might be in the hospital for up to five days and be limited on your activity.

What’s the follow-up?

Your doctor likely will want to see you at least once after the surgery. If your doctor placed a drain inside during surgery, he or she will want to take that out about a week later. You should talk with your doctor about the risk of reoccurrence in regards to your specific symptoms and type of hernia.

Source: Dr. Daniel Isbell, a general surgeon of Norman Regional Health System; The National Institutes of Health; The Mayo Clinic.

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