Robotic Hernia Repair—Less Pain, Faster Recovery


Robotic Hernia Repair—Less Pain, Faster Recovery

If you have had a hernia, you know—it is painful. You want to feel better quickly and get back to your normal life. Hernia surgeries have changed drastically over the last several decades and the newest robotic-assisted hernia repair is sure to get you feeling better, sooner.

Hernias are a very common injury. They can affect men, women and children. The National Institute of Health estimates nearly 700,000 hernia repairs each year in the United States.

What is a hernia? A hernia is caused when your intestine or internal tissue bulges through your abdominal wall. The wall of muscle protecting your abdomen is typically very strong. Unfortunately, some people are born with a weakness in that muscle wall, have a previous injury or develop a weak spot over time from a lifetime of straining or heavy lifting.

There are several types of hernias, but the most common hernia is an inguinal hernia. This hernia is in the abdomen and is caused by a weak spot in the muscle wall. Hernias can be very painful especially when you cough, laugh, bend over or lift a heavy object.

Dr. Michael Davenport, General Surgeon at St. Elizabeth Physicians says, “Surgery is the only way to treat a hernia. Doctors have been repairing hernias for over 100 years, but the surgical repair technique has improved over time.”

Evolution of Hernia Repair Surgery

“Hernia repair continually improves as we learn more and study the outcomes of tested surgical techniques,” says Dr. Davenport.

In the past, surgeons would push the tissue behind the muscle wall and stitch the weak spot together. Over time, they found stitching the muscle together put the surrounding tissue under stress and recurrence of hernias was high.

Next, a repair using a mesh “patch” was developed to hold the tissue in place. Surgeons then moved from a large incision to minimally invasive techniques which minimized the incisions and quickened the recovery time.

“Today, the best practice for hernia repairs is the robotic-assisted surgical repair,” says Dr. Davenport. “The newest da Vinci® system allows us to perform more surgeries than ever before, including hernia repairs.”

Dr. Davenport adds, “The newest robot gives me tools that move more naturally and can maneuver like a wrist. It also gives me a 3D image of the hernia through a very small incision.”

In traditional open surgery, the typical recovery was four to six weeks. Minimally invasive surgery allows for a three to four-week recovery, and now patients can recover in less than two weeks with robotic-assisted hernia repair.

Benefits of Robotic Hernia Repair

“Almost any hernia can be repaired using the robotic-assisted technology,” says Dr. Davenport. “Although patients that have had previous abdominal surgery or have a lot of scar tissue may not benefit from this surgery.”

Dr. Davenport describes the benefits of robotic-assisted hernia repair:

  • Less pain, which means fewer narcotics for pain relief.
  • Smaller incisions.
  • Shorter hospital stay (outpatient procedure).
  • Faster recovery time.

“I am passionate about treating our patients in the best possible way and robotic-assisted hernia repair allows me to do that,” says Dr. Davenport.

If you would like more information about hernia repairs or to make an appointment, please call (859) 344-1600.