The Stitch

What is robotic hernia repair?

A surgeon sitting at a robotic surgery unit near an empty surgical bed.Back to basics:

The National Center for Health reports over five million people in the U.S. suffer from a hernia and more than one million abdominal hernia repairs are performed annually. In this post, we discuss what a hernia is, how it is treated and the role of robotic hernia repair.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a hole in the tissues that make up the belly/abdomen through which some fat or intestine can get into and cause abdominal bulging and possibly abdominal pain.

Hernias can occur on the belly or in the groin.

How do we treat hernias?

There is no way to repair hernias without surgery. However, some hernias may be safe to watch with close monitoring.

A hernia repair aims to bring the tissues from around the hole back together. Sometimes, we will place a piece of mesh over this area to strengthen the repair and decrease the risk of hernia recurrence.

An illustration showing a robotic surgeon working on their machine while a scrub nurse, OR assistant, anesthesiologist and the robot itself work over the patient.Robotic hernia repair:

Robotic surgery allows us to perform a hernia repair with three or four small cuts/incisions across the abdomen. These serve as access points for us to get instruments into the belly for repair.

The surgeon will be at the bedside during the first part of the operation. The surgeon will place the cuts on the belly, the robot will be pushed up to the bedside and the instruments will be placed into the abdomen. Once the robot is in position, the surgeon will sit at a nearby console. The robot carries out every motion the surgeon makes at the console. The robot does not make any independent movements that the surgeon does not direct.

The mesh goes into the abdomen via one of these incisions. The surgeon will then place the mesh on the abdominal wall and complete the hernia repair.

Once the hernia repair is done, the surgeon will return to the patient’s bedside to close the abdominal access points.

Who is a candidate for robotic hernia repair?

Deciding between open vs. robotic hernia repair is based on the patient’s medical and surgical history and hernia size. Our Hernia Center navigator, Heather West, can assess you for a hernia and discuss possible treatment options. You can schedule your appointment by calling 713-798-MEND (6363).

By Heather West, PA-C, Specialty Abdominal Wall Surgery, Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery

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