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Hernia - Inguinal Repair (TEP)

This document will give you information about a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair (TEP - totally extraperitoneal). If you have any questions, you should ask your consultant.

What is an inguinal hernia?

As a result of weak areas developing in the muscle layer in the wall of the abdomen, the abdominal contents can push through. The lump is called a hernia ( see figure 1). These can become dangerous, particularly when internal structures such as intestines can become trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated). Inguinal hernias are located at the inguinal canal-  this narrow passage is where the blood vessels pass through the abdominal wall.

Figure 1
An inguinal hernia
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What benefits are there to surgery?

By removing the hernia, surgery prevents the complications caused by it.

What are the alternatives?

If you leave the hernia alone it will not improve without surgery. The hernia can sometimes be controlled with a padded support belt (a truss).

What is involved in the operation?

Usually it will take around 30 minutes (under an hour to repair both sides), and is performed under a general anaesthetic. This involves the surgeon making several small incisions on the abdomen, inserting surgical instruments (including a telescope) into the abdomen, and operating. The abdominal area causing the hernia will be returned, and a synthetic mesh will be inserted to strengthen the weak area.

Risks or complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

Recovery time - how quick is this?

It is likely that you will return home on the same or following day. After a week, you might be able to resume normal activities. Regular exercise should enable you to return to these as soon as possible, but please note that you should check with your consultant before you undertake any exercise. Whilst it isn’t necessary to avoid heavy lifting, it may be uncomfortable to do so during the initial two to four weeks. Be aware that the hernia can return.

Summary

This form of hernia is a common condition caused by a weakness near the inguinal canal, in the wall of the abdomen. If this is left untreated, the resulting complications from an inguinal hernia can be serious.

 

References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this page is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. 

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

 

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