Inguinal hernias are a condition that causes swelling and bulging in the lower abdominal and groin areas. Usually, the abdominal muscles are strong enough to keep the intestines in place. But when the connective and muscular tissues in these areas become weak or damaged, usually from injury, age, and other factors, they can no longer keep the fatty abdominal contents (omentum) in their proper position. The protruding abdominal contents cause swelling that may or may not cause pain and discomfort.
Below are the common types of questions patients ask Dr. Abtin Khosravi, MD., FACS, before scheduling their inguinal hernia surgery at Orange County Robotic General Surgery.
What Are Your Inguinal Hernia Surgeon Credentials?
Hernia surgery is an important decision for anyone to make. Dr. Khosravi encourages potential patients to schedule a consultation to meet with him, assess their comfort level, and ask questions about his credentials, skills, expertise, and procedure history. The consultation is also an excellent opportunity to discuss related concerns.
What Kind of Inguinal Hernia Do I Have?
The most common places for inguinal hernias to form are in the inguinal and femoral channels on each side of the groin. Swelling and bulging from hernias in the femoral canals are also referred to as femoral hernias. Inguinal hernias can also slide in and out of the abdominal wall.
Inguinal hernias are generally not dangerous, but they can be, especially in those who develop progressive symptoms or multiple formations. There are two kinds of inguinal hernias.
Direct inguinal hernias are the most prevalent type, primarily affecting older adult males. Direct inguinal hernias form over time as the abdominal muscular tissues become weaker due to aging, injury, etc. They are an acquired condition.
Indirect inguinal hernias bulge through the deep ring into the inguinal canal or the groin. Indirect hernias are tricky to diagnose because they are not so easy to locate with a physical or visual examination due to their location under the external oblique muscle fibers.
How Common Are Inguinal Hernias?
Inguinal hernias are common in children and adults. Some people with inguinal hernias on one side of their bodies eventually develop them on the opposite side or multiple inguinal hernias. Inguinal hernias can also cause sexual dysfunction and infertility issues if left untreated. In women, inguinal hernias can affect parts of the female reproductive system (like an ovary or a portion of the peritoneum).
In males, inguinal hernias can lead to hydroceles. Hydroceles are painful, herniated sacs filled with fluid that develop in the scrotum or groin.
Do I Have to Have Surgery for an Inguinal Hernia?
Surgery is the safest and most effective way to repair an inguinal hernia. It is often recommended for patients experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms or hernia enlargement. In addition to sealing the gap in the abdominal wall, the procedure restores the protruding tissues to their normal position.
Surgery reinforces the weak areas of the abdominal wall and decreases the likelihood of hernia reformation. Some patients with inguinal hernias may receive a recommendation to have surgery (herniorrhaphy) to remove a hernia sac instead of having any repairs made to the hernia site.
What Is Inguinal Hernia Repair Surgery?
At Orange County Robotic General Surgery clinic in Los Angeles, Dr. Khosravi, MD, FACS, performs the following types of inguinal hernia surgery.
Open hernia surgery is the conventional standard in surgical hernia repairs. The procedure is the most invasive option because it requires the use of anesthesia and a brief hospital stay for patients. To repair an inguinal hernia, Dr. Khosravi makes a long incision in the abdomen near the hernia. He then assesses the site before massaging the dislocated organs and tissues back into place.
To complete the procedure, depending on various factors, including the gap size, he may use stitches or graft a surgical mesh to reinforce the weak areas and close the opening. Hernia repairs involving mesh grafts are also called hernioplasties.
Laparoscopic surgeries are the minimally invasive option. Dr. Khosravi utilizes advanced, specialized practices, instruments, and a robot-assisted surgery system to repair inguinal hernias laparoscopically.
Both laparoscopic and robot-assist surgical practices provide far greater accuracy, precision, and less tension than open surgical techniques. Robotic-assisted hernia repair surgery is ideal for most patients because there are fewer post-operative restrictions, and recovery is much faster.
Among the different kinds of hernia repair surgeries for inguinal hernias, robotic-assist surgical hernia repairs are the safest, most effective, and least invasive, followed by laparoscopic surgery. Still, some patients are better suited for traditional hernia repair surgery.
What Are the Risks of Inguinal Hernia Repair?
There are risks associated with inguinal hernia repair. Open surgery carries the highest chances of complications. Minimally invasive hernia repair procedures are much safer and better tolerated by patients. Robot-assist hernia surgery carries the lowest risk of complications.
Risks associated with inguinal hernia surgery include infection, excessive scar tissue, nerve damage, urinary retention, increased pain, sexual dysfunction, repair material migration and erosion, and recurrent hernias.
How Do I Prepare for Inguinal Surgery?
Regardless of type, inguinal surgery repair is a delicate procedure. Outcomes are much better with open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery hernia repairs. To better prepare patients for their operation, Dr. Khosravi requires patients to undergo a consultation for an evaluation to discuss treatment recommendations, pre- and post-operative care requirements, and concerns before scheduling their procedures.
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.