Innovation in Minimally Invasive Hernia Repair

Today, hernia repair surgeons are challenging themselves to use more minimally invasive or robotic surgical options with larger hernias.

At the USF Health Hernia Center, a team of seven skilled hernia surgeons work collaboratively with the newest approaches to care for the simplest to the most complex hernia cases in Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas.

“Hernias were originally repaired with sutures and the patient’s own tissues,” said Dr. Adham Saad, a surgeon in USF Health’s Hernia Center. “The first big innovation for hernia repair was adding mesh to these repairs. It is important to know that there are very few hernias now that we fix without adding mesh reinforcement to it.” To reinforce a repair, mesh made of prosthetic or biologic material is secured within the abdominal wall and hernia.

The second innovation for hernia repair is the shift from open hernia repair to minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic surgery. For surgeons at USF Health Hernia Center, about 75% of hernias are repaired using laparoscopic or robotic surgery and 25% are repaired through open surgical procedures, depending on certain patient factors.

The advantages of minimally invasive techniques is that only three or four small incisions are required which decreases pain, reduces the risk for infection and enables a quicker recovery time.

Inguinal hernias located in the groin are the most common type of hernia, comprising 75% of all hernias. Most commonly found in men, the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the abdominal wall.  This condition can impact the daily lives of patients with on-going abdominal pain and cause patients to feel desperate to have something done.

 A One Time Hernia Repair is the Goal

“I’m drawn to hernia surgery because there is such a huge variability in hernias that require a unique approach to every patient,” Dr. Saad said. “As a team of surgeons, we have to be creative in how we address the repair, especially for the most complex cases.  Our goal is always to give patients a definitive hernia repair in one surgery, although this cannot always be achieved because there are certain conditions or situations where patients require more than one surgery to achieve optimum results.  There are also certain instances where patients are encouraged to wait for elective surgery to ensure optimal timing.”

Our surgeons at the USF Hernia Center abide by guidelines designated by the American Hernia Society.  For instance, certain conditions can preclude elective hernia repair.

These conditions include:

  • Active smoker
  • A BMI over 40 or 45
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

USF Health hernia surgeons embrace a multi-disciplinary approach to hernia care, encouraging patients to address the health concerns that are preventing successful hernia repair, including smoking cessation programs, working with the TGH+USF Bariatric Center, or connecting with their primary care physicians.  They caution patients from pursuing hernia repair with the above conditions because these patients can often be left worse off than before surgery.

Hernia Prevention

“Being active and eating healthy is the best hernia prevention,” Dr. Saad said. “The biggest risk for all types of hernias is being overweight. If you see a bulge, it’s important to have it evaluated.”

Dr. Saad shared the benefits of the USF Health Hernia Center.

“We carefully evaluate and determine what is best for each patient, sitting down and making a plan. And as part of an academic medical center, it’s a big advantage for a patient to have a group of surgeons working collaboratively, helping each other in the OR, and giving the best possible outcome possible for our patients.”

To make an appointment with a USF Health Hernia Center surgeon for an evaluation of your hernia, call (813) 974-0424.

Written By: Kathleen Rogers