Hernia Repair

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Introduction

Patient
Journey

What to
expect

FAQ

Useful
Documents

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Introduction

A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through the muscle or surrounding tissue wall, usually because it’s been weakened in some way. In many cases, it causes no or very few symptoms, although you may notice a swelling or lump in your tummy (abdomen) or groin. The lump can often be pushed back in or disappears when you lie down, and may appear again if you cough or strain.  

Each type of hernia is often associated with aging and repeated strain on the tummy.  

Surgery will get rid of the hernia and prevent any serious complications, although there is a chance of it returning after the operation. All operations at N2S are performed under local anaesthetic. We do not perform spigelian, ventral, incisional hiatus, laparoscopic or recurrent hernia repairs.

You may be referred to N2S for one of the following types of hernia:  

Inguinal hernias

Inguinal hernias occur when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through into the top of your inner thigh. This is the most common type of hernia, although it mainly affects men.  

Femoral hernias

Femoral hernias, similar to inguinal hernias, also happen when fatty tissue or part of your bowel pokes through into the top of your inner thigh. They’re much less common than inguinal hernias and tend to affect more women than men.  

Umbilical hernias

Umbilical hernias occur when fatty tissue or part of your bowel pokes through your tummy near your belly button. This type of hernia can occur in babies if the opening in the tummy that the umbilical cord passes through does not seal properly after birth, however adults can also be affected.  

Each type of hernia is often associated with aging and repeated strain on the tummy.  

Surgery will get rid of the hernia and prevent any serious complications, although there is a chance of it returning after the operation. All operations at N2S are performed under local anaesthetic. We do not perform spigelian, ventral, incisional hiatus, laparoscopic or recurrent hernia repairs.

Typical Patient Jouney

Step 1: Referral and Assessment

Day 1

Referral agreed during an appointment with your GP, which will be sent electronically to N2S via the NHS Electronic Referral System (e-RS).

You will receive a letter from your GP with a booking reference, asking you to contact us if you have not heard from us in two weeks. Patients with a mobile number or email address will receive an acknowledgement of their referral and an indication of waiting times, so you should not need to call. If you do not receive that information please feel free to contact us.

The hernia clinical team will triage your referral for suitability. There are many factors that could affect your suitability, all of which are to ensure the ultimate safety of our patients:

  • If your referral is suitable it will be added to the waiting list, and an assessment appointment will be sent out in due course.
  • If your referral is not suitable for our service it will be returned to your GP, who will contact you to discuss the next steps.

Current wait – 12 weeks

A letter will be sent out with an assessment appointment when you get nearer to the top of the list. Due to the amount of patients waiting we can only reschedule your appointment once, so please do try and make any necessary arrangements to attend. Only you (the patient) will be allowed to enter the practice, unless agreed prior due to care needs.

During your assessment appointment you will discuss your case with a consultant general surgeon, who will perform some checks and officially diagnose your hernia. You will then be put forward for a separate nurse assessment to assess your medical suitability for the operation under local anaesthetic. This can sometimes be on the same day, but is usually a separate clinic which we will invite you too with a separate letter.

Assessment to surgery – 12 weeks

You will receive a letter in the lead up to your surgery (approx. one month in advance) with the instructions for the day.

You will receive a call the day before your surgery from one of the Hernia Theatre team advising you of any preoperative measures you need to take. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU MAKE THE TIME TO TAKE THIS CALL your surgery will be cancelled if we cannot speak to you. Please make necessary arrangements with your place of work etc.

Step 2: Procedure – what to expect on the day

On the day of surgery you will be with us for no longer than two hours. You must be accompanied by a family member or friend, who will be required to stay in the building for the duration of your time with us. If you arrive unaccompanied your surgery will be cancelled.

You’ll receive a last minute check with a nurse before being brought into theatre for the procedure, which takes about 45 minutes. We perform open hernia repair with mesh under local anaesthetic – we do not use general anaesthetic, or keyhole procedures.

Once your procedure is complete you will be brought through to the recovery room, where a nurse will ensure you’re fit to be discharged. Your family member or friend will be asked to come through to the recovery room to listen to the discharge advice. You will then be free to leave.

Step 3: Post-op

You will receive a post-op call the day after your procedure. Please ensure you have your phone handy for when this call comes through, as our nursing staff usually only have a certain amount of time to make those calls.

You will have an appointment to check your wound five days after your procedure, after which as long as everything is okay you will be discharged from our service.

Hernia Repair FAQ

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Do I need someone to take me home after the operation?

Yes, and to stay with you for the first 24 hours. We ask that the person bringing you waits while your operation takes place.

Do I need to rest after my operation?

Yes, you must rest. When you get home have a light snack and drink and start gentle exercise the next day. AVOID ANY LIFTING FOR 2 WEEKS, NO HEAVY LIFTING FOR 6 WEEKS.

 

Are there any exercises that I should do daily?

To improve blood circulation whilst you are less mobile (sitting), you should make circles with your feet and pull your toes up and down to stretch your calf muscles. Do this every hour until you are back to fully mobile. 

When can I eat and drink as normal?

The same day – we recommend you have something small to eat when you get home. 

Will I need to take pain relief?

Yes, it is very important to take the pain medication as instructed by the Clinical team. It will help with the initial pain and will help with your recovery. Not taking the pain relief as instructed will leave you with more pain than is necessary. 

When can I remove my wound dressing?

Please keep your dressing on and dry until after your wound review appointment. There may be blood on your dressing; this may appear after the anaesthetic wears off and is normal. 

 

When can I bathe or shower?

The dressing needs to be kept dry until your wound review, so please perform ‘strip’ washes only.

Will I have bruising?

Expect some bruising in the abdominal, scrotal or hip area. This is normal and will disappear in due course. Please continue to wear tight fitting underwear for 2 weeks post operation to support the scrotum and avoid bruising. This area can be sensitive, sore and possibly numb, and can take up to 6 weeks to return to normal. 

When can I resume sexual activity?

It is recommended you abstain for at least 2 weeks.

When can I resume exercise?

It is sensible to abstain from strenuous exercise for a minimum of 2 weeks, however you must take daily walks and perform the calf exercises mentioned above.

How long do I need to stay at home from work?

The length of time depends on the type of work you do, N2S can issue a sick certificate for 2- 4 weeks, this must be signed by the surgeon so please prompt the team on the day of your operation. 

When can I drive?

DO NOT DRIVE until you are signed off by the theatre team, as you need to be fully in control of your vehicle in order to fulfil your insurance requirements. This is usually 1 week following your operation.

Useful documents

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Pre-operation letter

Operation Instructions Letter

Nurse Assessment Letter

Assessment Letter

Contact us

If you have any questions, please get in touch:

PLEASE DO NOT SENT US MESSAGES VIA THE WEBSITE ABOUT URGENT MEDICAL MATTERS - Use the appropriate contact details provided at the time of your appointment.

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