Laparoscopic Hernia Repair Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery can be used for hernia repair. Instead of one long incision, four or five tiny incisions are made in the area around the hernia. A device called a laparoscope, which is a miniature scope attached to a video camera, is inserted into one of the incisions. The surgeon is able to see the hernia and the surrounding tissue and organs on a video screen.

Instruments used to repair the hernia are inserted through the other incisions and the operation proceeds in much the same way as open surgery. Advantages of this technique include shorter recovery time and less postoperative pain. A major disadvantage is that it must be performed under general anesthesia, which carries far more risks than local or epidural anesthesia. Laparoscopic hernia repair has only been used for a few years, and while research shows it to be safe and effective, long-term results are unavailable.

Eligibility for laparoscopic surgery depends on a number of factors. The surgeon must be able to see the interior of the abdomen clearly, and sometimes obesity or large amounts of scar tissue make that difficult. Also, the patient may not be a good candidate because other health problems prohibit the use of general anesthesia. The choice of surgical procedure is based on patient safety.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Nov 2001

Last Modified: 21 Aug 2012