Hernia Surgery

Hernia Surgery Mesh

What is a hernia?

A abdominal hernia is a weakness of the abdominal wall, where there may be a defect with bowel or fat content passing through the defect.

Often a bulge may be felt under the skin particularly with standing, coughing or straining, which may go away again when lying down relaxed.

Where can hernias occur?

Hernias can occur nearly anywhere in the abdomen internally and of the abdominal wall, flank and even back!

Most common hernias are in the groin (inguinal) and belly button (umbilicus).

Is a hernia life threatening?

A hernia can potentially be serious if bowel has become stuck in the hernia and is getting strangulated.  In these situations, there is usually severe pain and the patient may be unwell.

Situations like these are an emergency and should be address promptly.

A hernia that is able to be reduced back inside is not life threatening, more just a disturbance.

How is a hernia fixed?

Most hernias nowadays are repaired using surgical mesh to reinforce the repair.  This is because if the hernia has occurred because of weak tissue, repairing the hole with the same thin, weak tissue will risk the hernia recurring.

Mesh may be placed inside the abdomen or preferably sandwiched between the layers of the abdominal wall or muscles.  Surgery may be done with keyhole/ laparoscopic surgery, open surgery or sometimes both (hybrid). 

Bruising and swelling is not uncommon. A seroma (straw coloured fluid your body makes) may accumulate in the space where the hernia used to be.

Urinary retention can occur after groin hernia surgery.

Otherwise major bleeding, infection, and ongoing chronic pain are uncommon or rare.

Is mesh dangerous?

The short answer is no.  There are many reports of people having pain after mesh implantation - mostly from vaginal or bladder prolapse surgery.

The truth with hernia surgery, chronic pain issues can develop after repair with mesh AND with no mesh.

A Cochrane Review published reviewing literature for mesh vs no mesh for hernia repairs found that non-mesh hernia repairs actually had a HIGHER RISK of chronic pain than mesh repairs.  Non-mesh repairs also have a higher risk of recurrence.

Item Numbers

  • 30403 - ventral hernia repair
  • 30405 - complex ventral hernia repair
  • 30621 - umbilical or epigastric hernia
  • 30609 - laparoscopic inguinal hernia
  • 30614 - open inguinal hernia