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A bilateral hernia is a very common form of hernia that presents itself in the groin area.

Weak spots or tears can develop in the layer of muscle in the abdominal wall resulting in the contents of the abdomen pushing through. This produces a lump called a hernia. A bilateral (meaning both sides) hernia is a type of inguinal or groin hernia that occurs in both sides of the lower abdomen.

Hernias may not be painful when they first occur. However if left unattended the weak spot can grow and simple acts like coughing, sneezing or lifting heavy objects can be painful. A hernia can be dangerous because the intestines or other structures within the abdomen can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated hernia).

What happens during bilateral hernia repair surgery?

A variety of anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes less than an hour.

Your surgeon will make incisions (cuts) in your groin and remove the "hernial sac". They will strengthen the muscle layer with stitches and will usually insert a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spots.

Sometimes this operation is done using minimally invasive laparoscopic (key hole) surgery. You should discuss which method will be used with your surgeon.

Going home after bilateral hernia repair

Recovery from hernia repair is usually very quick. You will be mobile very soon after the procedure and will be encouraged to increase how much you walk around over the first few days post surgery. Many patients return to normal day to day activities within the first week.

You should not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for one month. Please discuss your return to work with your surgeon prior to discharge from the hospital. Occasionally the hernia comes back.

What complications can happen?

Every surgical procedure has a risk of complications. Be sure and discuss any concerns you might have about these risks with your surgeon.

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in a surgical wound
  • Blood clots
  • Unsightly scarring

Specific complications of bilateral hernia repair surgery:

  • Developing a lump under the wound
  • Injury to structures within the abdomen
  • Temporary weakness of the leg
  • Persistent discomfort or pain in groin
  • Injury to nerves.

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