Once a hernia has been diagnosed and the decision has been made to repair it, the next question is what technique will be used. As the Hernia Specialists of Minnesota we are proficient in all modern repair techniques and have access to the latest technology. This allows us to tailor our approach toward your specific situation. We have a strong preference for minimally invasive techniques when possible.
Traditional, open surgery involves creating a single incision over the site of the hernia and then repairing the hernia through that incision. This incision will vary in size depending on the hernia but is typically much larger than the incisions used in minimally invasive techniques. Due to the larger incision there is typically more pain, a longer recovery and higher chance of complications. For these reasons we prefer a minimally invasive approach whenever possible. Open repair may still be appropriate in some situations. The most common include very large or complicated hernias, revision (redo) repairs and patients that cannot tolerate general anesthesia.
minimally invasive surgery
During minimally invasive surgery instruments and a lighted camera are placed through multiple small incisions to perform the surgery. Traditionally this has been “laparoscopic” surgery with straight, rigid instruments. Over the last several years we have transitioned to offering almost all of our hernia repairs using the robotic assisted platform. Minimally invasive surgery leads to less pain and allows for a quicker return to normal activity for our patients. Most go home the same day.
da vinci robot
Using a da Vinci robot, the surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdomen using long, thin instruments and a tiny camera. The camera sends images to a video monitor in the operating room to guide your surgeon during the operation. The robot is designed to provide surgeons with enhanced capabilities, including high definition 3D vision and a magnified view. The surgeon controls the robot, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the body. The robot cannot act on its own. Surgery is performed entirely by the surgeon.
Robotic surgery offers even more advantages over traditional minimally invasive surgery. The da Vinci surgical robot allows surgeons to see with a magnified, 3D view and use advanced instruments, which results in even more precise surgery. The surgeon is always in full control of the robotic system. Results may vary, but the value of robotic-assisted hernia repair is less pain during recovery and a faster return to work and normal activities than those who have an open procedure. With the advanced instruments we are able to do more surgeries in a minimally invasive fashion than ever before.
Every 60 seconds, a surgeon starts a da Vinci robotic-enhanced procedure somewhere in the world. That being said, many surgeons do not have access to or have the appropriate training to perform hernia repairs the robotic platform. This causes them to have to revert to more traditional techniques. While the results are still excellent, this may cause the patient to have more pain, a prolonged recovery, and to spend more time away from what matters most to them.