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Hernia Repair Surgery

Singapore hernia treatment

Hernia Treatment & Repair Surgery

Hernia repair surgery is one of the world’s most common surgical procedures. Hernia surgery can help to relieve pain, return the hernia abdominal organs to their correct place and, strengthen the weak muscle area. A hernia operation usually takes around an hour as a day case procedure. It can be performed by:

Open surgery

Under general anaesthesia, an incision usually around 2.5 to 3 inches is made to your skin near your hernia and your surgeon will push your hernia back into your abdomen. Commonly, a mesh is placed over the defect and fixed using fine stitches. The mesh acts like a scaffold and your own tissue will grow through the mesh to reinforce the weakened area without putting tension on the surrounding tissues.

Keyhole (Laparoscopic) Surgery

Under general anaesthesia, three smaller incisions are made to allow your hernia specialist to use a less invasive technique using various special instruments including a tiny telescopic camera to repair your hernia. A mesh is then be used to strengthen your abdominal wall.

How to Prepare for Hernia Surgery?

Proper preparation for a hernia operation in Singapore begins with following the preoperative instructions provided by your doctor, including guidelines on fasting before surgery, as well as any medications or supplements to avoid.

Patients must arrange transportation to and from the hospital as the effects of anaesthesia and pain medicine might impair their ability to drive home after a hernia operation.

What to Expect During Hernia Surgery?

Generally, hernia repair surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, which means the patient is asleep and pain-free during the procedure. The surgical technique varies based on the type and location of the hernia.

Oncean incision is made by the Singapore hernia specialist, the herniated tissue is pushed back into its rightful position, and the weakened or torn muscle walls are repaired using stitches, staples, or adhesive glue. In some cases, surgical mesh or other synthetic material is placed to help reinforce the area of the muscle wall and prevent the hernia from recurring.

What to Expect after Hernia Surgery?

Following hernia surgery, patients are usually discharged on the same day. You should be able to return to most normal activities within 1 to 2 weeks. Pain, bruising, and swelling around the incision site are common but temporary and will subside with time; and some may also feel sensations of pulling in the area. In Singapore, hernia surgeons usually prescribe pain relief medications to make the recovery process more comfortable.

Instructions on diet and proper wound care will also be provided. In the days following the operation, it is important to rest and avoid engaging in physically strenuous activities.

Your doctor will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery and ensure that the incision is healing properly.

Are There Any Risks of Hernia Surgery?

As with all surgeries, there are risks associated with hernia repair, which includes infection, excessive bleeding, damage to surrounding organs and blood vessels, reaction to anaesthesia, and fluid accumulation (seroma) near the hernia site.

While these risks exist, hernia repair surgery is usually a very safe procedure with a high success rate. Your hernia surgeon in Singapore will discuss these risks with you and take all the necessary precautions to minimise them.

Effective Hernia Management & Treatment Specialising in Minimally Invasive Surgery Technique
Call +65 6736 2302 to Schedule an Appointment

What is a hernia?

When there is a weakness in the muscle wall or connective tissue (fascia), and an organ or fatty tissue protrudes through it, this is known as a hernia. The most common types of hernias are inguinal (inner groin), incisional (caused by an incision), femoral (outer groin), umbilical (belly button) and hiatal (upper stomach).

How does one get a hernia?

Congenital

Congenital hernias develop before birth and are present upon birth, but may not be detected for weeks, months, or even years. A hernia that occurs much later in life may be the result of a weakness that you have had since you were a newborn.

Acquired

Acquired hernias occur when the muscles or connective tissue in the abdomen become injured or get weaker over time, disrupting the body's natural cycle of tissue breakdown and repair.

Hernia Symptoms

A soft swelling or bulge under the skin is a classic sign of a hernia. The location of the bulge will be determined by the type of hernia present. Some hernias are only visible when one is standing and may disappear when lying down. Others may be noticeable only when your muscles are strained by coughing, sneezing, laughing, bending or lifting.

There is a small risk that an organ such as the intestine (bowel) will become trapped when it pushes through the abdominal wall. This is referred to as an "incarcerated hernia”. If part of your intestine becomes trapped outside the abdominal wall and you are unable to push it back into your abdomen, you may experience pain or feel a hard mass on your abdomen. In such a situation, emergency medical intervention is required.

What are the Common Types of Hernia?

Inguinal hernia

The most common type of hernia, it occurs when the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscle or into the inguinal canal in the groin. This results in a bulge on either side of the pubic bone that can be painful. Inguinal hernias tend to affect men more. In Singapore, hernia treatment may take the form of a hernia operation, or as recommended by one’s doctor.

Femoral hernia

A femoral hernia occurs when tissue pushes through the inner thigh or a weak spot in the groin. This form of hernia is more common in women. Common causes include straining during bowel movements, lifting heavy weights, and excessive coughing. A hernia surgeon may recommend hernia repair in Singapore to fix a femoral hernia.

Umbilical hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when a piece of the bowel or fatty tissue bulges through the abdomen near the navel (belly button). It is especially common in babies under 6 months old, but can also happen to adults. In some cases (if the hernia is causing pain or at risk of strangulation), a hernia operation may then be required to treat the patient properly.

Epigastric hernia

Epigastric hernias are identified by the presence of lumps or bulges forming in the upper abdominal region, specifically between the belly button and the lower part of the breastbone (sternum). An epigastric hernia can be present from birth, is typically small in size, and may not exhibit any symptoms. However, if the hernia grows larger or causes discomfort, hernia repair surgery may be required.

What are Other Types of Hernia?

Incisional hernia

An incisional hernia develops when an organ or tissue protrudes through a former surgical site in the abdominal wall, which may have been weakened. Hernia surgery can help to repair the weakened abdominal wall by reinforcing it with mesh for enhanced strength and support.

Perineal hernia

A perineal hernia is a type of hernia that occurs in the perineum, a skin area located between the anus and the genitals. While it can be a rare complication of pelvic surgery, it may also arise from an injury, during pregnancy, or be present at birth (congenital). The symptoms may include pelvic or groin pain, difficulty with bowel movements, urinary problems, and discomfort when sitting and moving. A hernia operation is necessary to reposition the herniated tissue back to its proper place.

Diaphragmatic hernia

When the diaphragm develops a hole or defect, a diaphragmatic hernia may form. The opening allows abdominal organs, such as the stomach, liver, and intestines, to move into the chest cavity. Diaphragmatic hernias can be either congenital or acquired due to trauma or previous surgery. To treat this condition, a hernia surgeon may need to restore the normal positions of the affected organs, and repair the hole in the diaphragm.

How Is a Hernia Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a hernia involves conducting a thorough physical examination and reviewing the patient’s medical history. During the exam, the hernia specialist in Singapore may ask the patient to cough, stand, or bear down in order to assess the presence of any visible signs, such as a bulge or swelling, or if the hernia becomes more prominent. They may also apply gentle pressure to the affected area to see if the hernia can be felt or pushed back in.

In certain cases, an imaging test may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of the condition. This test can be an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI, which helps determine the size and location of the hernia and identify any potential complications.

FAQs

What Increases One’s Risk of Developing a Hernia?

Several factors can increase an individual’s risk for hernia formation. These include:

  • Ageing and the weakening of the abdominal muscles over time
  • Gender, as men are more likely to develop hernias than women
  • A job that requires heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity
  • A chronic cough that causes persistent abdominal pressure
  • Excessive straining during bowel motions
  • Being pregnant
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking, which weakens the connective tissues

What Happens if a Hernia is Left Untreated?

When a hernia is left untreated, it has the potential to cause serious complications. These may include a bowel obstruction, in which the herniated tissues could become trapped and cause a blockage of the intestines; or strangulation of the hernia, which can cause the tissue to die due to a lack of blood flow.

Is Surgery the Only Way to Treat a Hernia?

Hernias typically do not resolve on their own. If an individual has a small, asymptomatic hernia, the doctor may recommend watchful waiting or wearing a corset, binder, or truss to support the herniated area. However, hernia treatment commonly involves surgical repair that aims to restore the herniated organ or tissue to its proper position. The Singapore hernia specialist can provide a personalised treatment plan after evaluating the specific characteristics of the hernia and the patient's overall health.

Meet Our Hernia Surgeon in Singapore
Dr Sujit Singh Gill
Consultant Vascular & General Surgeon

MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Singapore), FRCS (Edinburgh)

Dr Suhit Singh Gill has close to 20 years of specialist experience in the field of general surgery, including various types of hernia surgery, with a track record of good patient outcomes. He received his basic medical degree and Masters in General Surgery from the National University of Singapore; and pursued further training in Australia at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. Dr Gill attained Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and has been actively involved in research and training to further advance his skillset and contributions to the medical community.

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