4 days ago I had open surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. I wrote about the reasons that contributed to my hernia in my article – Inguinal Hernia And Urinary Retention.
An inguinal hernia is what happens when the stuff that is supposed to be behind the abdominal wall (like intestines and fat) poke through a weakness in the abdominal wall. You can read all about inguinal hernias in this excellent article: https://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/inguinalhernia/
So whether mine (which was an “indirect inguinal hernia”) was caused by all the straining (mainly involuntary) that occurred when my bladder was trying to push urine through my urethra but couldn’t (due to my urethral stricture), or the weakness in my abdominal wall/inguinal canal was caused by a laparoscopic ap0endectomy I had in 1999, or a combination of both, the fact remains that I had a bulge in the bottom part of my belly on the right side. And whenever I coughed or sneezed, or laughed, or blew my nose (you get the point), it would hurt and feel weird as my innards slid in and out of the hole under the skin down there.
So my doctor decided to repair this hernia using the open repair method – as opposed to the laparoscopic method. My surgeon used surgical mesh to accomplish “tension-free” hernia repair. That means that after the stuff piking through the hole are pushed back in, the hole is patched (rather than sewn back together) with mesh. It is very much like sewing a patch on a hole in your pants. You sew the patch on by stitching around the outside of it, attaching it to the strong part of the pants and putting no tension on the weaker material right around the hole. This is the same except that we’re talking about muscle instead of pants fabric.
Here is a video that explains things really well without showing you an actual video with all the blood and gore:):
Anyway, when the surgeon was done, he closed me up and glued my skin back together with Dermabond (super-glue for the skin, basically). When I first woke up from surgery, I was in pretty significant pain. They wanted to start with non-narcotic pain relief (anti-inflammatory meds and Tylenol) in case I didn’t need any of the strong stuff. It makes sense to avoid the narcotics if you can. I suppose there are folks out there who are less susceptible to pain than I am. But after about 5 minutes I was at level 9 pain. So (thankfully) they gave me Dilaudid IV pain medication. That helped quickly and reduced my pain down to about a 7.5. Whew!
The next thing I did was to palpate the contents of my scrotum because one of the biggest risks of this surgery is damage to the nerve leading to the testicles. Things seemed pretty normal in that respect. Again – “whew!”
After that, it was just a matter of moving me through the system back to the recovery area where my wife was waiting to take me home. It is a same-day procedure.
The pain continued to be in the 7-8 range for about 36 hours. I took a Norco pain pill every 4 hours until bed. I did the same the next day. By day 3, I was taking a pill every 6-8 hours. The pain was reducing steadily.
Today is the 4th day after the surgery and things continue to improve.
Until things have settled down in the general vicinity, I won’t be able to tell whether the hernia repair will have reduced the pain I was feeling in the scrotal and testicular area since the urethroplasty in July. I was hoping that the pain was, at least in part, being caused by the hernia because my urologist could not figure out why I was still hurting down there 15 weeks after that surgery.
So in another week or two, I will report back.