‘Hernias are bulges in the belly where intestines and abdominal fat come out under the skin through an abnormal opening. The abnormal opening may be a defect in a scar from a previous operation or a naturally present gap in the abdomen. Hence the common sites for hernias are the groin, navel or a previous operation site. A very common scenario is an elderly gentleman having a groin hernia or a middle-aged lady having hernia through a previous operative scar such as following a previous pelvic surgery.Hernias may be totally innocent not causing any problems or may produce pain, ugly bulges or may at times be a source of great danger to health when their blood supply gets impaired.A patient usually ignores an asymptomatic hernia in the hope that it will go away. Unfortunately this isn’t going to happen. An untreated hernia will increase in size over a period of time, during which it will also become more uncomfortable as well. A visit to the doctor makes it worse when he talks about surgery to correct the problem. Now imagine someone who has had a previous surgery and now has developed hernia through it. The thought of having to undergo one more cut in the belly is traumatic. As it is, the female patients are embarrassed to wear saris lest their scar should show. Surely, another scar is unacceptable. To add to it, the fear of recurrence (having a hernia again) is always there. Hence, it is understandable that many patients avoid surgery, the only cure for such a condition and fall prey to unscientific methods.In recent years, laparoscopic repair of hernias has emerged as an increasingly popular option. The very concerns of the patients such as more scars, fear of pain and failure are addressed by this procedure. Laparoscopic repair of hernias are done by making small holes in the belly instead of a large incision. This makes the procedure painless, stitchless and bloodless. There is almost no chance of wound infections, something that is seen more commonly in conventional surgeries. It also allows the patient to go back home in 1-2 days and resume normal activities. This is unprecedented in conventional surgery where the patients are hospitalized for many days with usually a tube sticking out of the abdomen. And they are not allowed to return to normal activities for few weeks.In the laparoscopic procedure, the mesh (an artificial sheet made of synthetic materials) is placed from inside the abdomen to reinforce the defect unlike what is done in open surgery where it is placed just below the skin (this leads to more discomfort). According to research, this is responsible for the decreased failure rates seen with this method.\r\nIn recent times lots of development has taken place in improving the quality of meshes and the way they are fixed. This makes it more comfortable for the patient.\r\nHowever just like all good things in life, this method of treatment too does not come cheap. The mesh costs a lot of money. As does the fixation devices. But for patients who love their body and are conscious for the comfort and results, the expense is worth it.’,
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