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Hernia Recurrence: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

June 20, 2023

Hernia Recurrence: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

Hernia is a common condition that occurs when an organ or tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue. While surgical repair is usually successful in treating hernias, there is a risk of hernia recurrence. This can occur due to various factors, including the patient's medical history, the surgical technique used, and the experience of the surgeon. 

Understanding why hernia recurrence happens and what can be done about it is crucial to prevent potential complications and ensure successful treatment. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for hernia recurrence.

What Might Cause Hernia to Recur?

Several factors can increase the risk of hernia recurrence after surgery. 

One of the most significant factors contributing to hernia recurrence is the patient's medical history. If you have had a hernia before, you are more likely to develop another one in the same area. Additionally, conditions that increase intra-abdominal pressure, such as obesity, chronic cough, or constipation, can also increase your risk of hernia recurrence.

The surgical technique used during the initial hernia repair can also affect the risk of recurrence. If the surgery did not adequately repair the weakened muscle or tissue, the hernia may return. Similarly, using synthetic mesh that is not appropriate for your body type can lead to complications and a higher risk of recurrence.

Finally, the experience and skill of the surgeon performing the hernia repair can impact the risk of recurrence. Surgeons with less experience or who do not specialize in hernia repairs may have a higher risk of complications, leading to a higher chance of recurrence.

How to Recognize Signs of Recurrence

The symptoms of hernia recurrence may vary depending on the type and severity of the hernia. However, there are several signs that may indicate a recurrence, and it is essential to recognize them to seek prompt medical attention.

The most common symptom of hernia recurrence is the return of the original bulge or lump in the area where the hernia initially occurred. You may also experience pain or discomfort in the affected area, especially when lifting heavy objects or straining. In some cases, you may notice swelling or redness in the area, indicating inflammation or infection.

If you experience severe pain or sudden swelling, seek medical attention immediately, as these symptoms may indicate a complication such as a strangulated hernia. A strangulated hernia occurs when a portion of the intestine or other tissue becomes trapped and loses its blood supply, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

In addition to physical symptoms, you may also experience changes in bowel movements or urinary habits. You may experience constipation or difficulty passing stool, or you may notice blood in your stool. In some cases, you may experience urinary incontinence or an inability to pass urine. 

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Diagnosis of hernia recurrence typically begins with a physical exam and a review of your medical history. Your doctor will examine the area where the hernia initially occurred to check for the return of the bulge or lump. They may also order imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Here is what you should expect during a hernia exam.

Once the diagnosis of hernia recurrence is confirmed, treatment options will depend on the severity of the recurrence and your overall health. In most cases, surgery will be necessary to repair the hernia and prevent further complications. Your surgeon will discuss the surgical options with you and recommend the best approach based on your specific needs.

There are several surgical options for repairing recurrent hernias, including:

  • Open hernia repair: This traditional surgical approach involves making an incision near the site of the hernia and repairing the weakened muscle or tissue. Your surgeon may also use mesh to reinforce the area and reduce the risk of recurrence.
  • Laparoscopic hernia repair: This minimally invasive approach involves making several small incisions and using specialized tools to repair the hernia. Laparoscopic surgery may offer a quicker recovery time and less postoperative pain compared to open surgery.
  • Robotic-assisted hernia repair: This newer approach uses robotic technology to perform the hernia repair. Like laparoscopic surgery, it involves making several small incisions and using specialized tools to repair the hernia.

After surgery, you will need to follow your surgeon's instructions for postoperative care, including limiting physical activity and taking pain medication as prescribed. Full recovery time will depend on the type of surgery performed and your individual health status.

If you suspect that you may have a recurrent hernia or have experienced symptoms of hernia recurrence, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. At Hernia Innovations, our experienced team of hernia specialists provides advanced treatment options for recurrent hernias, including minimally invasive surgery and robotic-assisted hernia repair.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options for treating hernia recurrence. With our expert care and personalized treatment plans, we can help you achieve a successful outcome and get back to your daily activities with confidence.