After undergoing hernia repair surgery, the body needs time to rest and heal. Whether you undergo open surgery or a laparoscopic hernia repair, it is important to focus on your recovery if you want to experience best results.

During your recovery, there are gentle exercises you can do to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about strengthening your muscles after surgery.

Understanding the different hernia repair surgery methods

The surgery repair method used will determine what type of recovery you can expect. With open surgery, an incision will be made within the groin. The hernia is then identified, and it will be pushed back into the abdomen before the abdominal wall is strengthened with mesh or stitches. You will typically need to wait for 4-6 weeks before you can return to strenuous exercise.

With laparoscopic surgery, a small incision will be made at the belly button. A laparoscope which is connected to a small camera, will then be inserted. A harmless gas will be used to inflate the abdomen, giving the surgeon space to clearly see your internal structure. The inner lining of the abdomen will be cut to reveal the weakness in the wall. Mesh is placed on the inner wall to cover up the weakness and strengthen the tissues. Unlike open surgery, the recovery period here will be days, rather than weeks.

Can hernia type impact recovery?

The type of hernia you are repairing can impact recovery time. For example, incisional hernias can take longer to repair, which would increase the time you need to wait before you can return to normal activities.

You can discuss how long the recovery is likely to take, based upon the type of hernia you have, with the surgeon. They will provide full aftercare advice, letting you know when you can return to normal activities.

Whichever type of hernia you have, and which surgery method is used to repair it, you will be advised to avoid strenuous activities for up to six weeks.

Gentle exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles after surgery

If you want to speed up your recovery, there are some gentle exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles. Before trying any of the exercises mentioned, it is important to discuss them with the surgeon. They will be able to tell you whether the exercises are safe.

The sit-to-stand exercise is a good one to get started with. Simply sit down on the edge of a chair, activating the core muscles. Then, lean forwards so your torso is over your legs, keeping the weight onto the feet. Extend your legs to stand up fully. You can repeat this simple exercise several times throughout the day.

Pelvic floor exercises, seated knee extensions and forward lunges are also good exercises to try. Remember, start off slowly and don’t push yourself. Listen to your body, and your surgeon, in order to build up your abdominal muscle strength safely.

January is the time most people focus on ramping up their workout routine. However, for those living with a hernia, they need to be careful not to aggravate the condition.

Working out when you have a hernia can be both painful and dangerous. Here, we’ll look at whether it is safe to exercise with a hernia, and the key things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Is it safe to exercise with a hernia?

While caution should be taken, it can be safe to exercise with a hernia. However, there are certain exercises that should be avoided. Understanding which exercises you should avoid is key to working out safely.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is advisable to work out under the guidance of an accredited physiotherapist or qualified personal trainer. They will be able to show you which exercises are safe.

Generally speaking, the following exercises should be avoided:

  • Crunches and other core exercises
  • Contact sports
  • Heavy lifting exercises

The above exercises can put extra pressure onto the abdomen, causing the hernia to worsen. So, it’s important to focus on exercises that produce low intra-abdominal pressure.

Understanding the different types of hernias

Another thing that affects the exercise you should do is the type of hernia you have. There are six main types but the most common is the Inguinal hernia. It is estimated that around 25% of men will suffer from this type of hernia in their lifetime. It occurs in the groin area.

Femoral hernias are less common and mostly develop in women. They also occur in the groin and they can be a cause for concern due to the high chances of bowel strangulation. Exercising with this type of hernia can be dangerous so it is advised patients undergo surgery to remove it before partaking in a workout routine.

It is important to establish what type of hernia you are dealing with before you come up with an exercise plan.

Tips for working out with a hernia

There are some tips you can follow to ensure your safety when exercising with a hernia. Avoiding the exercises mentioned earlier is the first thing to remember. The main exercises you should focus on include things like aerobic exercise, glute bridges and postural strengthening exercises.

Making sure you don’t overdo it is also essential. You should take it easier on yourself until the hernia has been repaired.

Unfortunately, there is always a risk that hernias will worsen when you start working out. Therefore, it is advised that patients seek treatment for their hernia prior to heavy exercise. This is the only way to guarantee your safety.

Book a consultation today to see which treatment plan would be best to eliminate your hernia.

The unprecedented nationwide lockdown has seen many patients facing a long wait for their hernia surgery. As we move into winter, both COVID-19 and winter-related illnesses are set to contribute towards an even bigger backlogs of patients.

The trouble is hernias don’t just disappear by themselves. Leaving a hernia untreated can cause it to grow and worsen over time. Therefore, patients who are experiencing delays in their treatment might want to consider going private.

Here, you will discover why going private could be key to getting a hernia treated quickly, and why it matters.

How long are NHS waiting lists?

At the moment, there are significant backlogs in the NHS. Initially, routine and non-urgent appointments were delayed for three months. This was to allow the NHS to focus on COVID patients. However, even prior to the pandemic, the NHS had a backlog of 4.4 million patients on waiting lists. Around 730,000 of these patients had already been waiting for more than 18 weeks.

Hernia treatment is mostly classified as non-urgent surgery. Unless the hernia has developed complications, patients are still struggling to get the treatment they need.

Can I have my operation privately?

If you are concerned about the long waiting lists, it is possible to undergo your hernia operation privately. You may be surprised to find that it isn’t as expensive as you might think either.

Undergoing the procedure at a private hospital can also be much safer during the pandemic. This is because private hospitals have fewer patients coming in at any one time and because there are generally no emergency admissions.

Smaller hospitals are better able to protect their patients and premises from the virus, enabling treatments to be carried out safely.

You will also find that private hospitals aren’t facing the same level of backlog as the NHS. So, if surgery is needed quickly, a private hospital will have the capacity to handle it.

What can happen if I ignore my hernia?

While delaying your hernia operation for a few months isn’t a major issue, there are times you shouldn’t ignore seeking treatment.
If your hernia grows in size or becomes more painful, you should seek advice from a specialist. They will be able to determine whether surgery is needed.

When left untreated, a number of complications can occur. The hernia could cause an obstruction, or it could end up cutting off the blood supply to the area. This would be potentially life-threatening, making it extremely important to undergo surgery to remove the hernia.

Put simply, ignoring your hernia could end up causing you a lot more pain and stress than seeking treatment. So, although you may face extensive waiting times for a hernia operation through the NHS, it is possible to undergo the surgery at a private hospital.

Book a consultation today to arrange your hernia surgery with Mr Alan Woodward.

There are a lot of different types of hernias a patient can develop over their lifetime. The most common are known as an inguinal hernias.

Although inguinal hernias are not usually life threatening, they can affect your quality of life.

Here, we will look at the most frequently asked questions about this common type of hernia, and why many patients are choosing to have them dealt with privately.

What are inguinal hernias?

An inguinal hernia is a type of groin hernia, experienced by around 27% of men and 3% of women. They are mainly found on the right groin and they are essentially due to defects in the abdominal wall muscles.

These types of hernias may appear as a lump or swelling within the groin, which may or may not be painful.

What are the causes and symptoms of inguinal hernias?

The majority of inguinal hernias are thought to be caused by age. The older you get, the more likely you are to experience a hernia of some kind. This is because the muscles of the abdomen tend to weaken with age.

They occur when a part of the bowel, or fatty tissue, poke through in the groin. They may appear suddenly and can be brought on by strain placed upon the abdomen. This can happen if you have constipation or if you push a heavy load.

Around two-thirds of those who develop inguinal hernias will experience symptoms. These include pain and discomfort, and increased swelling during the day.

When might surgery be required?

Not all inguinal hernias require surgery, however if yours is painful or if it is growing, an operation will be advised. You may also need to undergo surgery if you experience any complications. These include strangulation, in which a part of the bowel gets trapped and has its blood supply cut off, and obstruction.

Although surgery to remove the hernia will prevent these complications, there is a low risk it may come back after the procedure.

What happens during inguinal hernia surgery?

There are two methods of inguinal hernia surgery which can be performed. You can either undergo open or laparoscopic surgery.

The open method allows the surgeon to make a cut and directly access the hernia, enabling them to push it back into the abdomen.

The laparoscopic method on the other hand, involves making a number of smaller cuts through which instruments are placed to repair the hernia from within the abdomen. Laparoscopic repair is associated with a quicker recovery but is not suitable for all hernias.

How long will it take to recover?

You will usually return home the same day of the surgery. You will be provided specialist aftercare instructions from the surgeon that you should follow. It takes around six weeks to make a full recovery from the operation and you should take a couple of weeks off work.

Inguinal hernias aren’t usually serious, but they will need surgery if they enlarge or cause discomfort.

Book a consultation with Mr Alan Woodward today to determine whether surgery might be needed.

Hernias are one of the most common surgical conditions.

Yet it’s the kind of condition many people will live with and worry about whether to seek specialist advice.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about or have questions about, it’s always best to seek specialist medical advice.

The following are frequently asked questions which may be of benefit to you.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE AN INGUINAL HERNIA?

Inguinal hernias most commonly present as a swelling in the groin and although they are most common in men, women also do develop groin hernias. The swelling usually appears on standing and disappears overnight or when lying down. The swelling typically is due to the intestines protruding through a defect in the abdominal muscles and appearing as a bulge under the skin.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE AN INGUINAL HERNIA?

The vast majority of inguinal hernias are painless and so may present little inconvenience. During this period of confinement, it is still important to stay fit and active and so daily walking, running or cycling is still to be encouraged. It is advisable to avoid strenuous activities such as weight lifting as this may exacerbate symptoms from the hernia and possibly encourage the hernia to enlarge or even strangulate.

SHOULD I WORRY IF MY INGUINAL HERNIA CAUSES PAIN?

The main risk of an inguinal hernia is that of strangulation when the bowel becomes stuck in the abdominal wall defect. This is a rare (1 in 2000 cases) but serious complication. Providing the swelling disappears on lying down then it cannot be strangulated. If the hernia is becoming more uncomfortable then this is often due to the fact that it is enlarging. If the hernia which was previously reducible, suddenly becomes persistently present and tender to the touch, this suggests the possibility of strangulation (when the blood supply to the bowel is reduced) and requires surgery as an emergency.

I HAVE HEARD THAT I CAN WEAR A TRUSS, IS THIS AN OPTION?

Abdominal supports can provide temporary relief from groin discomfort but are not a long term alternative to surgery.

DO I HAVE TO HAVE THE REPAIR USING MESH?

The recommended repair in most parts of the world is with the use of mesh as this provides an excellent repair with a low recurrence rate. For patients who do not like the idea of a mesh being inserted, a repair with stitches (sutured repair) can be undertaken.

I HAVE SEVERAL MEDICAL PROBLEMS AND AM WORRIED ABOUT HAVING AN ANAESTHETIC.

Inguinal hernias can be repaired under local anaesthesia very safely. It is rare to be turned down for hernia surgery on the grounds of having other medical conditions.

IF I HAVE TO WAIT TO HAVE MY HERNIA REPAIRED, WILL IT CAUSE PROBLEMS?

Waiting a few months to have a hernia repair is unlikely to cause any problems. If the wait is prolonged and the hernia enlarges into the scrotum, this could theoretically result in a higher postoperative complication rate such as significant bruising or recurrence and so it is preferable to have your hernia repaired before it reaches that stage. Hernias tend to enlarge over a period of a year or two rather than over weeks or months.

For an online consultation contact Karen on 07969 043 507 or email Karen@awsg.co.uk

Hernias are one of the most common surgical conditions.

Yet it’s the kind of condition many people will live with and worry about whether to seek specialist advice.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about or have questions about, it’s always best to seek specialist medical advice.

The following are frequently asked questions which may be of benefit to you.

WHAT IS A FEMORAL HERNIA?

A femoral hernia is a groin hernia which tends to occur in women. It occurs slightly lower down in the groin than an inguinal hernia which typically occurs in men. It presents as a swelling in the crease where the thigh meets the abdomen right next to the pubic bone. The swelling is usually due to fat poking through the femoral canal and is about an inch in diameter. The swelling may disappear on lying down but more typically does not. Sometimes the swelling may be due to bowel coming through the defect rather than fat and this is potentially dangerous. These hernias are prone to being strangulated where the blood supply to the bowel can be cut off by pressure from the surrounding femoral canal and so femoral hernias tend to be treated with more urgency than other hernias. If these hernias become strangulated they are associated with a significant mortality and so every effort should be made to treat these as a priority.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF A FEMORAL HERNIA?

It is recommended that all these hernias are treated by surgery because of the risk of strangulation. The options include keyhole surgery in which an artificial mesh is placed over the defect from within the abdomen or alternatively an incision is made over the groin swelling directly and the defect closed either with a suture or with a piece of artificial mesh shaped as a small cone.

WHICH IS THE BEST TECHNIQUE?

This depends on the size of the hernia, whether it is a recurrent hernia and how fit you are and so what is good for one patient may not be the best for you.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF SURGERY?

Providing these hernias do not present as an emergency with strangulation, they are treated very easily and with a low complication rate. Infection is very rare and although there is a risk that the mesh may need to be removed this is highly unlikely. There is a low risk of any hernia recurrence following a surgical repair and so it is important to allow the repair to heal for four to six weeks after surgery by not lifting any heavy weights.

CAN I CHOOSE WHICH REPAIR I HAVE?

You will have the final say as to which repair you have, guided by your specialist. Often a sutured repair is adequate for a new hernia whereas a mesh may be more appropriate for a recurrent hernia. If you are unfit, you may not be suitable for a keyhole repair which requires general anaesthesia but these hernias are also easily treated under local anaesthesia as a day case.

WHAT KIND OF RECOVERY CAN I EXPECT FOLLOWING SURGERY?

Femoral hernias are repaired often with very little pain but it is still important to give the repair a chance to heal over four weeks. Driving can be within a few days providing you feel you can do an emergency stop comfortably. A follow up consultation will be arranged about four weeks after surgery to ensure you are happy with the result after which you can resume a normal lifestyle.

For an online consultation contact Karen on 07969 043 507 or email Karen@awsg.co.uk

Hernias are one of the most common surgical conditions.

Yet it’s the kind of condition many people will live with and worry about whether to seek specialist advice.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about or have questions about, it’s always best to seek specialist medical advice.

The following are frequently asked questions which may be of benefit to you.

WHAT IS AN UMBILICAL HERNIA?

An umbilical hernia is a hernia through or near to the belly button. The umbilicus is the remnant of where the umbilical cord joined you to the placenta during foetal development It was at this point that blood vessels from the placenta entered your body and fed you the nutrition and oxygen from your mother, for growth. Shortly after birth, the small hole at the umbilicus that was present throughout the pregnancy closes off. If the hole fails to close the persistent defect results in a hernia. The hernia is called a neonatal umbilical hernia if it is present from birth. If the hernia presents in an adult it can either be through the umbilicus or adjacent to the umbilicus in which case it is called a paraumbilical hernia.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AN UMBILICAL HERNIA?

Typically they present with a small swelling in the belly button and sometimes it is almost unnoticeable, just presenting with an asymmetry of the belly button. Pain is an unusual symptom of these hernias, most of which are pain free but they might be slightly sore to the touch or when you lean against something.

DO THESE HERNIAS REQUIRE TREATMENT?

The vast majority of these hernias require no treatment, particularly if there are no symptoms other than a small swelling. If there is pain or the swelling is increasing rapidly, this can be sufficient reason to consider treatment.

IS THERE A RISK OF STRANGULATION IN UMBILICAL HERNIAS?

Strangulation is a very rare complication of umbilical hernias. Most umbilical hernias contain a small amount of intra abdominal fat rather than bowels and so strangulation of this fat is rarely life threatening. If the blood supply to bowels in a hernia becomes compromised (strangulation), this is a potentially life threatening situation which has to be dealt with by emergency surgery.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

If it is decided that your hernia is best treated, then you will be offered surgery to close the defect in the umbilicus. The most common way to do this is via an incision adjacent to your belly button, usually underneath but sometimes above. The fat or bowel is returned into your abdominal cavity and the hole closed with either stitches or a small cone made of artificial mesh. The skin is usually closed with dissolvable stitches placed under the skin and so are not usually visible.

MY ONE-YEAR-OLD BABY HAS AN UMBILICAL HERNIA, DOES THIS REQUIRE SURGERY?

The majority of neonatal umbilical hernias will spontaneously close by the age of 3 and do not require treatment. If they persist beyond this, you should arrange to see a paediatric surgeon.

CAN THIS SURGERY BE DONE BY ‘KEYHOLE’?

Keyhole surgery requires 3 incisions to place the necessary operating instruments and as the standard approach only requires one small incision, there is no advantage and is not recommended. Also, keyhole surgery requires a general anaesthetic whereas standard surgery can be undertaken under local anaesthetic.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS?

Repairing umbilical hernias is very safe and often relatively painless. As with all hernia repairs, there is a risk of wound infection, recurrence of the hernia and possible mesh removal although these are quite rare problems.

WHAT KIND OF RECOVERY CAN I EXPECT FOLLOWING SURGERY?

The surgery is undertaken as a day case and may require painkillers for 3 or 4 days. A waterproof plaster is used to enable you to shower from the day after surgery. Heavy lifting should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks but otherwise normal activities can be resumed within about a week. It is not necessary to have skin stitches removed as they dissolve over a period of a few weeks and will not be noticed as they are buried under the skin. Walking is encouraged following surgery as this reduces the possibility of developing a clot in the calf (deep vein thrombosis).

For an online consultation contact Karen on 07969 043 507 or email Karen@awsg.co.uk

Hernias are one of the most common surgical conditions.

Yet it’s the kind of condition many people will live with and worry about whether to seek specialist advice.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about or have questions about, it’s always best to seek specialist medical advice.

The following are frequently asked questions which may be of benefit to you.

WHAT IS AN INCISIONAL HERNIA?

An incisional hernia is a hernia which develops in a previous surgical wound. They are very common and can range from a tiny defect in the abdominal wall to complete disruption over the whole length of the incision. They present mainly as an unsightly swelling of the wound but in common with other hernias may also be uncomfortable or indeed present with severe pain.

DO INCISIONAL HERNIAS REQUIRE TREATMENT?

Small asymptomatic hernias can be managed without surgery but as it is common for these hernias to enlarge and become uncomfortable it is better to seek a specialist opinion.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

It is sometimes possible to manage these hernias with an abdominal corset rather than have surgery but this is for comfort only and does not resolve the underlying problem. Small hernias can be treated in the same way as umbilical hernias, preferably with the use of mesh to reduce the possibility of recurrence. Larger hernias can present a very complex problem in terms of trying to obtain long term cure and the recurrence rate can be as high as 25% or more depending on the particular hernia and the health of the patient. A detailed discussion with a specialist is necessary to determine the best treatment option for each individual but may include repair using a sutured technique, placement of a mesh or using a keyhole approach. There are pros and cons to each technique and you will need to give careful consideration to each, guided by your specialist.

WHAT KIND OF RECOVERY CAN I EXPECT FOLLOWING SURGERY?

Many of these hernias are large and require a lot of surgical dissection to treat adequately. Therefore, it can be expected that recovery is often slow and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, wound complications are common after repair of incisional hernias often because the risk factors for developing an incisional hernia also contribute to a higher risk of infection including obesity, diabetes and steroid treatment for other conditions. Smaller incisional hernias will generally have a lower postoperative complication rate and a smoother recovery. Many of these hernias are suitable for a keyhole approach to repair by placing a mesh over the defect from within the abdomen using small incisions. The recovery following keyhole repair is much quicker and more comfortable than using the standard approach of making an incision over the swelling on the abdominal wall. Suitability for keyhole repair will require discussion with your specialist.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF REPAIRING INCISIONAL HERNIAS?

Complications include infection, hernia recurrence and mesh removal. With larger hernias it is not uncommon to have minor wound healing problems which require multiple attendances to outpatients for repeated dressings until healing. With keyhole surgery the risks are similar but there is an additional though rare, risk of damaging internal organs which may require further surgery to correct.

For an online consultation contact Karen on 07969 043 507 or email Karen@awsg.co.uk

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