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8 Myths about Hernia Surgery

Do you have a hernia that requires surgery? When hernias become too painful, surgery is often an option when other treatment options fail. Hernias are frustrating and uncomfortable medical conditions that people don't often talk about, and as a result, there are many myths circulating about what it means to have hernia treatment. Are people who get these procedures not able to be active for weeks afterward? Does mesh only cause pain with certain techniques? Is the surgery itself painful? In this article, we'll attempt to discuss and debunk eight myths that surprised most people about hernia surgery.

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MYTH: Hernia surgery requires a sizable incision in the abdomen.

Open hernia repair requires an incision in the abdomen through which the surgeon literally pushes tissue back into place. However, minimally invasive hernia repair is quite different. With those procedures, surgeons insert small cameras on a thin tube through very small incisions and use plastic mesh for the hernia repair.

MYTH: Patients need to rest for several days after having hernia surgery.

People who opt for minimally invasive hernia surgery are often back on their feet within a day or two. More time may be needed before returning to fully normal activities, and sometimes complications may require longer recoveries or hospital stays, but generally laparoscopic procedures have quick recovery times.

MYTH: Both hernia surgeries result in the same amount of recurrences.

Minimally invasive hernia surgeries usually result in 5 percent fewer recurrences of hernias than open hernia repair. Also, people who have minimally invasive surgeries experience less pain afterward.

MYTH: Hernia surgeries are very painful.

Patients aren't awake for their hernia surgeries, so the procedures themselves are painless. It's the aftermath of hernia surgery that can be painful, but most people are eligible to receive minimally invasive procedures that shorten recovery times.

MYTH: A mesh patch is attached outside the incision after the hernia surgery.

The mesh only goes on the outside of the cut following open hernia procedures. With laparoscopic procedures, the mesh is placed inside of the small incisions, similar to how a car tire is patched.

MYTH: The mesh patches don't ever lead to complications.

In some cases, the mesh patches applied to incisions after surgery can become encased in scar tissue and harden, which can cause pain and discomfort. However, this only happens rarely. Most people never feel the mesh patches, which are continually being improved.

MYTH: Everyone is eligible for laparoscopic hernia surgery.

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for minimally invasive hernia procedures. People who are obese or have lots of abdominal scar tissues from previous surgeries may need open hernia repair instead. Having previous infections at the surgery site may also determine eligibility. Other factors might also come into play.

MYTH: The recovery time from hernia surgery is the same for everyone.

Even when having minimally invasive hernia surgery, recovery times can vary significantly from person to person. If you're having hernia surgery, you'll need to talk to your doctor about when you can be back on your feet or be back at work. Keep in mind that surgical complications, although rare, can also extend recovery times.