There is good news for the 750,000 people who will experience their first hernia this year. Surgeons are now using an innovative "plug and patch" method that takes about 30 minutes, does not require general anesthesia and allows patients to resume normal activities in two to three days.
"It costs less than some other hernia treatments, there is less pain, recovery time is reduced and the repair is more durable," said Dr. Keith Millikan, general surgeon at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. A hernia is a weakness or defect in the abdominal wall, especially near the groin, navel or near any previous surgical incisions. Men usually get this type of hernia while women tend to suffer from femoral hernias that occur at the top of the thigh, which occur during pregnancy and childbirth. Hernias may be present from birth or develop over a period of time. Typically, treatment involves surgery in which both sides of the hole are stitched together while the patient is under general anesthesia. Recovery can take months and is often accompanied by discomfort and reduced activity.
With the "plug and patch" method, surgeons make a two-inch incision near the
groin area, and then cut away the underlying tissue to access the hole. While
carefully avoiding crucial nerves and cauterizing minor blood vessels, a small white
conical shaped plug that resembles a badminton birdie is inserted into the hole
or hernia. The tapered shape of the plug eases insertion into the defect and
fills the hole much like a cork in the neck of a bottle. The plug's umbrella
shape allows it to expand and contract with the groin muscles to provide
tension-free hernia repair, according to Millikan. The hole is then covered
with a specially formulated, plastic mesh patch, which is placed over the entire
groin area for reinforcement before the incision is sewn up. Total time for
this surgery is often about 30 minutes and because the patient is on local
anesthesia there i
Contact: Chris Martin