What Is An Inguinal Hernia?

A hernia occurs when a part of an internal organ begins to enter a body cavity that it is not supposed to. An inguinal hernia refers to when fatty and/or intestinal tissue is pushed into the groin area of the body via the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal harbors various structures that are part of the reproductive system. For males, the spermatic cords are located in the inguinal canal; for females, the inguinal canal houses the round ligament of the uterus. An inguinal hernia may cause a bulging in the skin and is painful for some, and though some inguinal hernias are harmless, people who do experience symptoms of pain and discomfort from the hernia are advised to seek treatment.

What Is The Treatment?

Sharp pains when engaged in physical activity and pain in the groin are symptomatic of inguinal hernias. Inguinal hernias most often occur in males and are more likely to happen to people who have a family history of inguinal hernias or who are overweight or obese. If the inguinal hernia is causing discomfort and interrupting one’s everyday life, a doctor might recommend a surgical procedure to remove the hernia. There are two main procedures to remove hernias, herniorrhaphic surgery, which requires the surgeon to cut the patient open in order to operate, and laparoscopy, which is a less invasive procedure.

What Is Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair?

In a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, small incisions are made in the lower abdomen, which is then filled with carbon dioxide to provide maximum visibility to the laparoscope (a specialized camera used in surgery). Several devices, known as trocars, are placed in the abdomen. Trocars act as ports for the other specialized tools that will be used during the surgery. The lower abdomen is filled with many blood vessels, making it imperative that the surgeon be careful so as to not nick a vessel. The peritoneum (the membrane lining the internal organs) is removed to expose the inguinal cavity and the hernia. The surgeon will then carefully remove the hernia by either cutting off the herniated tissue or pushing it back into its original place, cauterizing any blood vessels and tissue that are in the way and that may leak. The surgeon will then tighten the opening to the inguinal cavity so as to prevent future herniation.

Why Laparoscopic Surgery?

Doctors will most likely recommend a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, as it is minimally invasive and less painful. Along with providing a minimally invasive option to open surgery, laparoscopy can be performed by robotic tools that allow surgeons to make more precise cuts in the body and reduce the risk of internal hemorrhaging.

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