MARK COLEMAN - Consultant Surgeon
Mark Coleman
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Inguinal hernia surgery (keyhole groin hernia surgery)

Groin hernias (ruptures) are very common and affect up to 1 in 5 men. They most commonly present as a lump in the groin which can ache and cause pain. The lump forms as a result of a muscular weakness in the groin resulting in the protrusion of the contents of the abdominal cavity. Occasionally the hernia can become non-redicible and strangulate which is a medical emergency. Surgery for hernias can be open or keyhole.

Keyhole surgery has the advantages, when compared to open surgery of less pain, earlier return to normal activities such as sport and work, and less numbness. All hernia repairs are subject to occasional failure (recurrence) and there is no difference between open and keyhole surgery in this regard. Keyhole hernia surgery is carried out under general (full) anaesthetic as a daycase procedure and generally takes less than 1 hour to perform. 3 keyhole incisions are made below the umbilicus (belly button) to carry out the operation. A piece of mesh is used to repair the weakness which is secured in place with a single tiny metal screw-tack. Hernias, if present in both groins (bilateral) can be repaired through the same keyholes.

Afterwards, discharge from hospital takes place when urine has been passed and any pain controlled. Pain killers will be given to take home. A follow up outpatient clinic appointment will be arranged 4 weeks after surgery.

After discharge from hospital on the same day as surgery it is usual to expect the following:

  • There are no stitches (sutures) to be removed; they are dissolving underneath the skin. These will be covered with shower-proof dressings which cand be removed at home after 1 week.
  • Dull discomfort/pain in the lower belly for 2-3 days
  • Passing urine (peeing) will be slower and more frequent for 2-3 days. Occasionally inability to pass urine (retention) requires passage of a temporary catheter through the penis. In this event the catheter is removed a week later in the outpatient clinic.
  • Minor swelling in the area of the hernia may be apparent; occasionally a small collection of fluid (seroma) may develop – this is harmless and will gradually be absorbed by the body.
  • Black bruising may present in the scrotal skin which is also harmless and will resolve in time.
  • After surgery such as this it is not advisable to drive a motor vehicle as the insurance will not be valid. After keyhole surgery, it is usually possible to resume driving after one week. If in doubt it is advisable to seek a medical opinion from either a GP or the surgeon.
  • Normal activities including sport, work and sexual intercourse can be resumed as soon as wanted but heavy lifting is not advised for 4 weeks.

It is quite normal to experience the occasional twinge, usually with physical activity for several months after the operation.

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