Hernia Repair: Advances Make the Difference for Patients

It is estimated that some 5 million Americans suffer from hernias at any given time. Even so, only about 700,000 hernia repair procedures are performed annually. While not every hernia demands immediate surgical intervention, the disparity in numbers may have another root cause. Hernia surgery was once a major undertaking that involved a long recovery period. This, however, is not always the case anymore thanks to advancements in laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic hernia repair procedures are preferred by most surgeons and their patients for a few reasons. Although not technically “easier” than open surgery, they do present with some benefits. They include:

• Smaller incisions – Open hernia repair procedures call for a large incision. Laparoscopic procedures are designed to only involve very tiny incisions to allow surgical tools and a visual aid inside the body.
• Reduced blood loss – One of the biggest advantages of laparoscopic procedures versus open is the reduced blood loss generally associated with them. In addition, these procedures generally involve a lower complication and infection risk, which can be a very big benefit.
• Shortened recovery time – Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of modern hernia repair procedures is the shortened recovery time involved. What used to involve a multi-day hospital stay and months of recovery now only generally involves an overnight or outpatient stay in the hospital and a few weeks of taking it easy.

Hernias develop when a part of an organ manages to protrude through a weakened place in the muscle or tissue meant to hold it in place. This condition, for example, can arise when intestines push through the abdominal wall. Although many people can live with hernias for a time, the condition does not remedy itself. In some cases, the organ can have its blood flow cut off as a result of the hernia. This results in a condition known as a “strangulation.” Immediate medical intervention is required when this occurs.

People who suspect they have hernias are urged to obtain medical advice as soon as possible. While surgery may not be recommended right away, hernias do require monitoring to avoid serious complications, such as strangulation. Should surgery be recommended most people will find modern laparoscopic procedures make the repair much less intimidating than it once was.

Tips for Avoiding Pain After Gallbladder Surgery

For those who suffer from chronic gallbladder problems, such as inflammation or stones, removal of this non-vital organ is often very much vital. Life without a gallbladder can go on as normal, to be sure, but sometimes digestive issues crop up. About half of people who have their gallbladder removed complain of digestive discomforts, bloating and gas after surgery. This is simply because they may have issues digesting fat as efficiently as they once did.

These tips can help reduce or eliminate post-surgical problems with digestion and keep discomfort at a minimal level:

• Start out slowly – In the first few days after surgery, eat a light, clear diet. Gelatins and broths are best. Slowly add mild solid foods back into the diet after that and gauge the body’s reaction to them.
• Low-fat makes sense – Smaller food portions and low-fat choices are often best following surgery. The need to skip French fries might not last forever, but it is highly recommended as the body adjusts to the new normal. Smaller portions can help keep bloating issues to a minimum, as well.
• Steer clear of fatty foods – Some of the items that are best to avoid include those fries, pizza, gravies made from meat drippings, high fat-meats, fat rich dairy, chocolate, cream-based foods and certain oils, such as palm. Spicy foods can be an issue as well.
• Take care with high-fiber foods – It’s best to be very careful and slow about reintroducing high-fiber foods into the diet. Foods such as whole-grain breads, nuts, broccoli and cabbage may put an extra strain on the digestive system and lead to diarrhea, bloating and cramps. Go slow and watch reactions before adding these items back into the routine on a regular basis.

Living life without a gallbladder to aid in digestion can take some getting used to. Be sure to take it slow after surgery and watch for foods that cause discomfort. Cut these out for a time and reintroduce later to see if the status quo changes. For more dietary advice, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider.