Fast Recovery After Hernia Surgery
Everything We Do at Boston Hernia Helps You Get There
When patients come to our office, they have questions about their hernia surgery. And they are quick to ask: When will I be able to return to work? How quickly will I be able to exercise? How long before I can get back to all my regular activities?
They typically are surprised, and pleased, at how quickly we expect them to recover after we perform their hernia surgery. Why? Boston Hernia is rare in employing all the proven techniques that lead to a successful surgical outcome and a fast recovery.
- We don’t use general anesthesia.
- Instead, we sedate our patients and give them local anesthesia. After surgery, they feel alert.
- We use a proven technique for placing mesh.
- In cases where mesh is used to create a durable hernia repair, we place it behind the abdominal wall muscles (unlike many surgeons). This is associated with a faster recovery and lower risk of post-surgical complications.
- You probably won’t need opioid medication for pain.
- Because of the way we perform hernia surgery, your pain is likely to be mild and brief. That is why more than 95% of Boston Hernia’s patients take no opioid medications after surgery, despite being given a prescription. Their pain can be managed with Tylenol or Advil. (Visit our Opioid Reduction page.)
You may hear about laparoscopic and robotic surgery for hernia repair, but all the studies show that a small, open incision, which is what we use, leads to successful surgery and a faster recovery.
How fast? In a recent study of Boston Hernia’s patients, it was found that:
- 40% of our patients missed no work.
- Most returned to full activities within two weeks of their surgery.
- Also, fewer than 1% of our patients developed a recurrence (where their surgery did not result in a permanent repair).
Finally, because we set our patients’ expectations that their hernia surgery will go smoothly, and they will have mild pain, they expect a fast recovery—and that is what they experience.
Continue reading below if interested in more detailed information about what we do differently
Technical Information on how we perform inguinal hernia surgery
There are many different ways to repair an inguinal hernia, but not all are created equal. At Boston Hernia, we offer the Advanced Open Preperitoneal Inguinal Hernia Repair, which allows for less pain and faster recovery after hernia surgery.
To better understand the various repair types, we often compare the abdominal wall to a bicycle tire. An inguinal hernia is much like a hole in a bicycle tire with the inner tube sticking out. In order to fix the hole in the tire, you can stitch the hole closed, you can place a patch on the outside of the tire, or you can place a patch on the inside of the tire.
Basic physics tells us that a patch on the inside of the tire is the best way to fix the hole in the bike tire, as the pressure from the inner tube will hold the patch in place over time.
The same principle applies for inguinal hernia repairs.
A patch on the inside of the abdominal wall is the preferred repair type for the following reasons:
- Patients’ abdominal pressure is working to keep the patch in place over time, leading to a lower risk of recurrence
- The patch is placed away from nerves in the groin, leading to a lower risk of chronic groin pain
- Recovery time is shorter, allowing patients to return to normal activity and exercise sooner
- Post-operative pain is less, leading to much lower use of narcotics in the recovery period
HOW IT'S DONE
There are two ways to get a patch on the inside of the abdominal wall: open and laparoscopic.
Open surgery (Advanced Open Preperitoneal Inguinal Hernia Repair) entails a 1.5 inch incision in the groin and is most often performed under local anesthesia with sedation in most patients.
Laparoscopic surgery entails multiple (3-4) small incisions and is always performed under general anesthesia.
At Boston Hernia, we highly recommend the Advanced Open Preperitoneal Inguinal Hernia Repair, as patients can often avoid general anesthesia and typically have less pain post-operatively, when compared to laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery.
In the video below, Dr. Reinhorn explains the anatomy involved in an inguinal hernia and the four main ways to repair an inguinal hernia.
1 - Suture only repair - various types including Shouldice repair
2 - Traditional open mesh repair - patch on the outside of the abdominal wall
3 - Laparoscopic or robotic inguinal hernia repair - patch on the inside of the abdominal wall under general anesthesia
4 - Advanced open preperitoneal hernia repair - patch on the inside of the abdominal wall under local with sedation (in most patients)