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Hernia FAQs (cont.)

What medications are used to treat a hernia?

There are no medications to treat a hernia directly. The doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the risk of worsening a hernia (such as a stool softener or cough medicine).

How are hernias repaired?

Hernias can be repaired with two types of surgery.

  • Traditional: During traditional hernia repair, the abdominal wall is opened during the operation, the protruding tissue is moved back into the abdomen, and the abdominal wall is closed and the weak area reinforced with synthetic mesh. The person may be given general anesthesia and stay overnight in the hospital. The person will have an incision and several stitches.
  • Laparoscopy: Many times the surgery can be done through laparoscopy. This type of surgery is less invasive than traditional hernia repair. With laparoscopy, tiny fiberoptic instruments are inserted into the abdomen through small surgical openings. The person may have three small incisions. A video camera is inserted into one opening, which guides the surgeon who is manipulating the instruments in the other two openings. The person is given general anesthesia, so he or she is asleep during the procedure. However, recovery is much shorter with this less invasive surgery. The person may even go home the same day.

Following the surgery, the doctor will advise the patient on these issues:

  • The person may be given pain medications.
  • Tenderness, swelling, and some bleeding are possible.
  • Depending on the type of surgery to repair the hernia, the person may slowly return to regular activities.
  • Lifting or any activity that would put a strain on the surgical area should be avoided.
  • When the person can resume driving, sexual activity, and work are items to discuss with the doctor.

Call the doctor if, after surgery, any of these problems develop:

  • Excessive tenderness or swelling
  • Fever
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Redness in the area of the incision
  • Severe or increasing pain
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2015

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