Laparoscopic hernia surgery is one of the most effective procedures to repair hernias. Despite millions of procedures being performed annually across the country, one of the first concerns that patients have about it is the success rate.
At Orange County Robotic General Surgery, we encourage patients to learn as much as possible about their hernias and treatment options so they can make the best-informed decisions for their situations.
What Is Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery?
Laparoscopic hernia surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that provides patients with immediate relief of inguinal hernia symptoms and quick recoveries with minimal downtime. However, just like any surgical procedure, it’s not right for everyone, and certain conditions apply. Individuals with certain hernia types and health or medical risk factors may be better candidates for alternative hernia repair treatments.
There are various repair options for patients experiencing persistent or recurrent hernia pain and discomfort, ranging from self-monitoring, diet and lifestyle management, conventional or open surgery, and tension-free, mesh, and laparoscopic practices. Individual treatments are determined after carefully analyzing each patient’s health, medical profile, hernia type, severity, etc.
What Is Considered a Successful Hernia Repair?
While individual assessments of treatment success vary tremendously, the failure rate for laparoscopic hernia surgery is extremely low. Yet, the risk of repair failure is highest during the first 5 to 7 years after surgery, though complications can occur at any time outside that time frame.
Traditionally, the medical community determined surgery success rates solely on the rate of recurrent hernias in post-operative patients. Now that modern-day technology and surgical practices have evolved, professionals use various factors to determine the success rate of laparoscopic hernia surgery.
Factors That Impact the Success Rate of Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
Medical professionals typically monitor patients during recovery and afterward for the following signs of hernia repair failure symptoms.
Swelling and bulging that return or worsen after surgery is often a sign of hernia recurrence, mesh migration, or infection. Inflammation is common with infected hernia repair tissues and can cause surrounding tissues to swell. Infection, inflammation, and enlargement indicate fluid leakage or retention that can become abscesses or seromas that carry the risk of spontaneous rupture.
Burning or nerve damage in or surrounding the repair site and surgical wound is rare, but it does happen. Sadly, even the best hygiene and wound management care are not enough to prevent some laparoscopic hernia surgery patients from developing burning, prickling, and weird sensations from injured or damaged nerves. Normally, these sensations occur within the first few postoperative weeks before improving. Occasionally, postoperative patients initially experience short-term improvements before their discomfort worsens and becomes more challenging to manage.
Burning can also be attributed to infection or deterioration of the hernia repair site. As the infection progresses, it can cause the skin in the area to feel warm to the touch. The burning pain or discomfort often comes and goes and varies in intensity and duration.
Antibiotics are often prescribed to counteract inflammatory activity and can provide temporary relief from the burning sensation. But without proper medical attention or subsequent repair, symptoms can redevelop.
Urinary and bowel irregularities are common complications of laparoscopic hernia repair that develop when the reinforcement material moves out of place, erodes, or causes infection. Patients may develop gastrointestinal issues as their repair mesh or material and damaged abdominal tissues collapse, increasing pressure on the organs and anatomical structures underneath.
Fatigue and lethargy that occurs towards the end of recovery or any time after are not normal. Patients experiencing hernia repair complications can develop fevers and chills as their bodies fight to overcome infection or hernia repair material rejection.
Sexual dysfunction is rare and primarily affects men more often than women. It is linked to inguinal hernia and mesh hernia repairs.
Pain often occurs at the surgical site and varies in severity. Persistent or chronic pain is indicative of infection, inflammation, tissue adhesions, repair rejection, organ failure, GI distress, etc.
Additional symptoms associated with hernia repair failure include gastrointestinal distress, constipation, flatulence, bloating, and urinary incontinence. In rare cases, additional complications may develop, such as anal fissures, hemorrhoids, colon or bowel obstruction, or prolapse of the rectum.
Symptoms can be acute and develop swiftly within days or weeks. They can also develop slowly over many years. Symptoms are noticeable in all cases. Some people are unaware of these concerns until they see their doctor for a routine examination.
Despite being one of the most successful and effective treatments for hernias, complications may occur outside the recovery window that requires immediate medical attention.
Patient Considerations for Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
When contemplating laparoscopic hernia surgery, patients should evaluate their surgeon’s skills, expertise, and procedure history. Surgeons who routinely perform laparoscopic hernia surgeries generally have a much higher success rate than more generalized professionals.
Hernias rarely go away on their own. Surgery is often necessary to repair the bulging tissues and improve symptoms. Sometimes, additional repairs are needed to correct issues that may arise to prevent recurrent hernias and symptoms.
Additional Factors That Impact the Success Rate of Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
Patients with comorbidities or underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, anemia, high blood pressure, and autoimmune disorders are more likely to encounter complications that affect their hernia repairs.
Also, patients are advised to adopt healthy living behaviors, such as maintaining a well-balanced diet, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly. They should also refrain from recreational drugs, smoking, and lifting heavy objects that may compromise their hernia repairs or weaken or damage the affected areas more.
To learn more about laparoscopic hernia surgery or alternative hernia treatments, contact Dr. Khosravi, MD, at (714) 541-4996.
To find out if inguinal hernia repair surgery is right for you, Contact Orange County General Robotic Surgery at (714) 706-1257 for a consultation with Dr. Abtin H. Khosravi.