Surgery for Hernias

One of the most common conditions that general surgeons address is hernias. Hernias can occur in many locations including the inguinal (groin) area, abdominal wall (ventral or incisional hernia), and around the esophagus (hiatal hernia). In simple terms, a hernia is an opening in the muscle that allows the structures beneath to protrude. In some cases, the intestine can get caught in the opening and can cause serious problems including obstruction or strangulation. An obstruction of the intestine is a blockage that stops the normal passage of intestinal contents. Strangulation is caused when the hernia cuts off the blood supply.

​When addressed before critical obstruction or strangulation, inguinal hernias can often be repaired in a minimally invasive fashion. Laparoscopic techniques including robotic surgery allow for quicker return to activity and less postoperative discomfort compared to open techniques. When conditions allow for the use of the daVinci robot, patients experience less post-operative pain due to the robotic “wristed" instruments that allow for the fine movements required for internal suturing during the surgery. Before the introduction of robotic technology, this type of suturing was not practical. In most cases, robotic assisted laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is an outpatient procedure. Often mesh is used for inguinal hernia repair which decreases the chance of recurrence.

Other types of hernias including incisional hernias can also be repaired using the advantages of the daVinci robot as well. During this type of surgery, the opening is closed with suture and mesh is then sutured over the closed hernia defect with the aid of the surgical robot. This type of surgery allows for a quicker recovery and only occasionally requires a brief hospital stay. This depends on the amount of adhesions or scar tissue within the abdomen and whether or not the intestine is involved with the surgery.

When addressed before critical obstruction or strangulation, inguinal hernias can often be repaired in a minimally invasive fashion.