Minimally invasive surgical techniques offer a new approach to surgical repair or removal of organs called laparoscopic surgery. This type of surgery offers surgeons access to various areas in the body through small incisions that result in fewer complications, surrounding tissue damage and faster healing times. Laparoscopic surgical procedures are common for many types of orthopedic or joint repair, soft tissue organ, such as gallbladder, stomach, liver and heart procedures and obesity and bariatric procedures.
Laparoscopic surgical techniques have also been perfected in their repair of many types of hernias, including inguinal or groin hernia repair. An inguinal hernia is a tear or a weak point commonly found in the lower portion of the abdominal wall (most common in the groin area) that allows portions of the intestine or other tissues to bulge through the opening. Inguinal hernias often occur when individuals with weak abdominal musculature lift heavy objects, but they may also occur by simply bending over or coughing.
Who Benefits from Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair?
Men are much more likely to experience an inguinal or groin hernia than women, but anyone with a family history of inguinal hernias, chronic coughs or constipation and excess weight or history of hernias may benefit from a laparoscopic hernia repair procedure. Individuals engaged in jobs that require heavy lifting or intense physical labor may also suffer from sporadic hernia incidents.
In some cases, an inguinal hernia that involves the bulging of a portion of the intestine require repair of the hernia to prevent bowel obstruction known as an incarcerated hernia, or diminished blood flow, a condition known as strangulation, that may eventually cause the death or destruction of a portion of bowel.
Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair
In most situations, laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is performed on an outpatient basis. This means the patient will go to the surgical clinic or office where the hernia repair will be performed and then be released the same day.
Patients undergoing a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair will undergo medical evaluation, x-rays and blood work, as well as discuss benefits and risks of the procedure with their surgeon. Patients will be required to avoid all liquids or foods 6 to 12 hours prior to the surgical procedure.
The patient will be placed under general anesthesia during the procedure, although some may be offered a regional or spinal anesthetic which numbs the area and prevents the patient from feeling any pain during the procedure. Three to four very small (1/4 inch) incisions will be made in the lower abdomen, through which long, thin tubes called cannulas will be inserted. A laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a camera attached to one and) will be inserted through one of the cannulas to offer the surgeon a view of the body cavity, which is displayed on a monitor or computer screen in the operating theatre.
Specially designed surgical instruments enable the surgeon to repair the hernia and the tear or weak spot in the abdominal wall through small incisions that reduce the risk of complications, pain, and promote faster healing time and recovery.
How much does Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair Cost?
In the United States, the cost of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is determined not only by geographical location, but whether the procedure is performed in a hospital or an outpatient clinic, as well as what type of anesthetic is offered. Costs may range an average of $4,000 to $10,000.
Medical travelers venturing to foreign locations such as India, Costa Rica, or Mexico may save thousands of dollars, with average cost for complete tour packages, including all medical and surgical care, including hospital, facilities, blood work, and airfare between $2,000 and $6,000.
Who Performs Laparoscopic Hernia Repair?
Laparoscopic surgeries should be performed by a experienced surgeon trained in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Laparoscopic surgeons should be familiar with a variety of procedures utilizing laparoscopic technique and equipment in his or her field of study or specialty. Surgeons who perform laparoscopic surgeries should be board-eligible or certified practicing surgeons, Residents or Fellows in accredited programs including gynecology, urology, and oncology, or are board eligible and certified practicing gynecologists, urologists, or other physicians who engage in and perform laparoscopic procedures.