When a person has surgery to correct a problem, they hope that operation fully takes care of the problem. This is especially true for patients who undergo hernia surgery, because surgery does fully correct the problem in the majority of cases. However, for a small group of patients, they end up back in the doctor’s office because their hernia came back after their operation.
So why do hernias redevelop after a surgical operation, and what can you do to prevent and treat recurrent hernias? We answer those questions and more in today’s blog.
Why Do Hernias Come Back?
Like any surgery, hernia surgery is not effective 100 percent of the time across all patients and hernia types. Surgery does have outstanding results, but it’s impossible for it to work every single time. A fraction of hernias return weeks, months or years after the initial surgery for one reason or another. Here’s a look at some of the reasons why a hernia can redevelop following surgery:
- Infection at the surgical site
- Too active too soon after surgery
- Past or present steroid use
- Smoker or chronic cougher
The good news is that now that we know what factors contribute to an increased risk of hernia recurrence, we can take steps to mitigate that risk. For example, practice proper wound care in the days and weeks after your surgery, and be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions in regards to activity limitations. Don’t try to rush back to work or sports too soon, or you might have to go through this process all over again. Limit your use of steroids if possible, and give up smoking as it will help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of coughing fits. Finally, strive to maintain a healthy weight to put less stress on vital soft tissues.
If you are one of the unlucky ones whose had their hernia come back, you’re in for a similar treatment plan as you had in the first place. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and then take some imaging tests to learn more about why the hernia redeveloped. There are no non-surgical methods for fixing a recurrent hernia, so you’ll schedule surgery before leaving the office or shortly thereafter.
Most recurrent hernias can be addressed with a laparoscopic or minimally invasive procedure, but complex hernias may need an open operation. Most patients can return to normal daily activities 1-3 weeks after surgery, but special attention will need to be paid in order to prevent another recurrence. Because your surgeon will be able to pinpoint why your hernia redeveloped in the first place, you may have a better idea of what activities to avoid or how to best manage your hernia as the surgical site heals.
Minnesota Hernia Surgeon
So if your hernia has returned, reach out to Dr. Koeplin to see if he can help fix it once and for all. And for patients who are undergoing their first operation, talk to your surgeon about the best ways to prevent the hernia from coming back. Knowing the risk factors and making smart decisions in regards to your activity level can help, but follow the individualized care plan from your physician. For more information, or to talk to a hernia surgeon in your area, reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s office today.