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Experience of hernia ops, specifically mesh implants?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,
I have a dilemma. I have a double inguinal hernia and have just been urgently referred to a specialist by my GP. It is getting gradually worse. My GP warned me that I probably wouldn't get to have an op before next January's skiing trip. Confused Sad ; so I'm considering going private.

Anyway, having done some research about what options are available regarding repairs; it is clear that mesh implants are the normal/preferred repair these days. However, I've come across some horror stories around problems with meshes and how many have had to be removed at a later late. The main problems seem to be "adhesions"; where fibrous scar tissue can grow onto your intestines causing all sorts of severe problems. From what I've read, manufacturers have been trying for years to develop a mesh that will allow tissue to adhere to the outer face of the mesh, whilst making the inner face "non stick" and less likely to cause adhesions. To date, that "Golden egg" does not exist.

If I sound slightly paranoid, it's with reasonable cause. I am my fathers son in many ways. He had thin legs and varicose veins from a very early age, as do I. He really felt the cold, as do I. He had a very short fuse, as do I. He had problems with his heart, as do I. I have been told in my case, I've inherited my heart problems from him. He also had a double hernia (back in the 1960's), I think they simply stitched it up in those days. I was a kid so can't remember.

My big concern is that in his mid 60's, after bowel surgery (for bowel cancer); my father suffered really badly with adhesions. He had to have operation after operation to try and cut them off. However, each operation compounded the problem. I saw him one day on his hands and knees, literally screaming in pain and crying, because of adhesions and his bowel twisting. It was heart breaking to see; as he was a strapping six foot tall ex Royal Marine Commando, and hard as nails. Unfortunately, he eventually died of the bowel cancer in his mid 60's.

So naturally I'm more than a little concerned that I may have also inherited his genes that made him prone to suffer badly from adhesions.

I will obviously discuss the repair options and my concerns with whoever is to carry out the surgery; but I'm just curious as to whether any of you good folks have had a mesh implant and experienced problems.

Thanks
Awd
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Awdbugga, Think I mentioned to you I had this a couple of years ago. Keyhole surgery, using mesh. Absolutely no problem. I walked out of the hospital less than 6 hours after going in. No pain, no discomfort after the first night (and that was sorted with a couple of ibuprofen). I was told to take it easy for a couple of weeks and avoid lifting, but it was so unnoticeable that I really had to concentrate in not exerting myself as I couldn't feel a thing - even after lifting weights I shouldn't have. If memory serves the consultant explained that that the error rate for these mesh ops was less than 2% (someone else my have better figures), so a 98% chance of nothing going wrong. He also explained that if the mesh was a problem it was taken out and a different technique (non keyhole) is used, but this tended to be more invasive than keyhole, so you get a second bite if the 2% shows up!

6 Months after my op a friend had the same procedure - he's a chain saw carver so lifting heavy stuff all the time. He walked out of the hospital after half a day and has had no issues whatsoever.

Every procedure has its potential to go wrong but I think in this case the probability is lower than a major problem arising if you don't get it done. With respect to your father I doubt very much that adhesion problems are hereditary, I'm more convinced that would have been the techniques they used in those days, and possibly (I'm guessing, as it's not my field) the medication he may have been on for his cancer, things have moved on.

I skied with my hernia and it was certainly possible but no fun - drag lifts were just about impossible. Go for it or I'll be miffed not being able to ski with you in Italy In January! Very Happy Very Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I had a double repair twenty years ago done using keyhole surgery and mesh inserts under local anaesthetic. I had it done privately at the London Hernia Centre as I had medical cover from work. It wasn’t available on the NHS back then and I’ve had no issues whatsoever since. My GP recommended the London Hernia Centre as he’d had it done there himself. I was told to get out walking straight afterwards even if painful. The first time I tried, it was painful as I started the walk, but the pain diminished and had gone by the time I finished the walk. I avoided lifting anything heavy for a week or so but then got on with life.
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geepee wrote:
I had a double repair twenty years ago done using keyhole surgery and mesh inserts under local anaesthetic..... and I’ve had no issues whatsoever since.


Sounds like that's another fine mesh you've gotten yourself into.... Madeye-Smiley
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Alastair Pink, I believe they stitched me up. Madeye-Smiley
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@MikeM, @geepee, thanks guys, that's good to hear.
@geepee, The London Hernia Centre was one I've been looking at. It's re-assuring to hear your GP chose to have his done there.

I suspect mine has been made worse by my weight loss. There's been a slight bulge there for a long time, but I'm guessing the tear was partly blocked by fatty tissue. Now that fat has all gone and (as my wife says) I'm all skin and bone; the bulge is more prominent and increasingly painful. It's got to be sorted one way or another, so I can go skiing. snowHead I reckon I could manage a session in the CFe, but would almost certainly not be able to do a week, even less, two weeks on the mountain. Confused Sad
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@Awdbugga, Skiing will be no problem after a few weeks recovery, so plenty of time to get it sorted. The London Hernia centre is the preferred clinic for professional footballers I believe.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@geepee, that's good to hear. Even more re-assuring to know they are used to dealing with finely tuned athletes; such as myself. . rolling eyes Toofy Grin Laughing Laughing I'll probably be told to follow the signs to the "Knackers yard". Confused
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In the meantime get hold of a hernia truss, they're not ideal but they do ease the discomfort in the short term while waiting for the op.
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@Awdbugga,
A friend of mine had/has a hernia in the groin area. He did it while doing a panic unclip from the pedals on his bike after he got cramp. He had the mesh op and it hasn’t gone all that well for him. He’s had a lot of physio and was able to get back to swimming without much pain but can’t do anything on the bike other than gentle leisure stuff. He was told that removing the mesh wasn’t a great idea and likely to lead to complications

Sorry if this isn’t helpful or encouraging but it is what it is.

… and FWIW, I suspect that some of his post op problems were caused by pushing it far too early. He used to push enormous gears on the bike and I guess he may have done the same after the op
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I have had two operations for inguinal hernia, both keyhole surgery with general anaesthetic and mesh at Spire Dunedin in Reading. No problems with either op, and very rapid recovery. I was able to ski without any problems just a few weeks after the first operation. A general rather than a local anaesthetic was required for keyhole surgery.

The first time it was funded by the NHS, and the second time I funded it directly, although it was the same surgeon both times. The second op was in August last year and I chose to fund it privately because even though the NHS approved the funding there was no prospect of it taking place anytime soon. I was very fortunate to get the operation out of the way before the major disruption from COVID to the health service over the winter.
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@bolderz, that’s good to hear. I’ve looked at the Spire hernia clinic in Manchester as a possible option. I’m waiting for my second Covid vaccination before I go anywhere. I caught Covid during a hospital visit last May. Pretty much assymptomatic, but don’t fancy getting it again. I’m planning on having the op in the summer, when the infection rate has hopefully come down and I can recuperate in the sunshine.
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@Awdbugga, only NHS place I can see close to you that has a waiting time less than a year is the Spire Hospital on the Wirral at 26 weeks from referral to op. Your GP could refer you if you insisted (he/she would give you a hard time though). Plus point is that the Spire over here is a private hospital that takes NHS referrals.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I had left side done in 1999. no issues since

I had right side done in 2017. again, no issues since. I was walking my very big dog within 10 days of procedure

spire liverpool in and out in same day.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@Awdbugga, the way it works here in Reading is that there is a team of four surgeons who all work across four different local hospitals including one NHS hospital. So you get the same surgeons whether you go private or not. If your GP gives you a referral then you can book at any of these hospitals without charge through the NHS. For the second operation I had a referral, but the NHS booking system was shot to pieces by COVID. I spoke directly to the surgical team who told me that clinics had not started yet and that the appointments shown by the referral system did not exist in reality.

I opted for a private consultation first which assesses your condition and can advise on what to do about it. You can still use an NHS referral after the consultation, although in my case it looked as if it could be a very long time before I would get an operation through the NHS.

My main problem in recovery was remembering not to do anything too strenuous. I was given a bag of painkillers, but I didn't really need any of them, although I took anti-inflammatories for a couple of days as a precaution to make sure the wounds settled down quickly.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Looks like my op will be in July. They have to wait until 12 months after my heart attack, as I have to be on a particular tablet for 12 months following the attack and they need me to stop the tablet for a week or so before the op.

It'll be bilateral keyhole under general anaesthetic in Spire Yale in Wrexham. I've been told I'm fine to go skiing in the CFe in the meantime. Happy days.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Awdbugga, ideal time to have your op. Warm weather for initial gentler than usual recuperation. Plenty time to regain normal fitness before ski season.

I’m similar awd vintage as you and had my inguinal hernia op 8 years ago on local NHS. No significant pain afterwards. Avoided specific abs exercises in gym for about a month then reintroduced steadily, with gradual build up.

I’d say back to my full fitness in about 3 months. For first year or two was quite cautious about lifting heavy and/or awkwardly shaped objects (no jokes about beloved relatives having to walk back from pub under own steam please).

Subsequently forgot need for cautiousness and occasionally lift or move stuff I shouldn’t with no ill effects. I’m very careful to try to avoid heavy lift and twist motions though. No long term post op problems with gym exercise, cycling, skiing, heavy gardening, bowling, etc.

Last summer thought I might have a mesh related problem. Persistent tenderness in that area for about 10 weeks. GP referred me for ultrasound scan to check mesh and all fine. Just a bad muscle tear that’s OK now.

I’d guess far fewer life affecting risks than from, say, knee repair. Even so, if going private, I’d be seeking specialists in that specific op and comparing published results. In Midlands I know one named Simon Randle, who is highly recommended. Every region likely to have an equivalent, as it’s such a common op.

Good luck and look forward to comparing scars after one too many in Stube wink
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@PeakyB, the consultant I saw said he doesn't do keyhole, so is referring me to his colleague who specialises in keyhole and hernias. Which is reassuring.
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We all are our parents' sons but the materials and techniques have improved.
The 12 months pill for blood thinning and avoiding restenosis is crucial, so waiting is correct.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I had one a few years ago by conventional surgery & was walking the dog within a couple of days & back to (careful) heavy lifting within a couple of weeks. I haven't even thought about it for a couple of years & just carry on as before.
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Operation booked for July 19th with Spire Healthcare in their Yale Hospital Wrexham. Bilateral, keyhole under general anaesthetic. Very Happy Happy days.
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@Awdbugga, Good luck, and hope it goes as well as mine (both keyhole under general) did.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The quoted figures are that post inguinal hernia repair, about 30% of people will suffer some degree of chronic groin pain afterwards, it is known that this incidence is reduced if an endoscopic/laparoscopic approach is used.

With regards to use of meshes or not, you may struggle to find many surgeons in the UK that will be happy doing it without one, such repairs do exist and are safe and effective but they're harder to learn and not many people offer them anymore.

With regards to adhesions post op, that's just a side-effect of surgery-adhesions sadly happen without mesh all the time. The mesh itself is designed to form a scarplate-it is what gives the repair it's strength.
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Looks like I'm also in the club...that I'd rather not belong to.

Diagnosed with an inguinal hernia in the spring and only recently managed to get an appointment with an NHS consultant. He, as expected, couldn't specify the waiting time to get it fixed on the NHS but after poking around online a little I'm going to have to wait until next spring at least.No surprises there.

Coincidentally I'm also a chainsaw carver like @MikeM, 's friend who he mentioned above. Heavy lifting and a certain amount of exertion is a part of my work and I really didn't want to nor was in a position to take a hernia prompted sabbatical, especially after the last year or so.Initially I used a hernia truss which kind of worked for a few weeks then didn't. I then modified it with cut up camping mat and foam rubber held in place with duct tape to increase the support and size of the area in the required region and hooray, was able to carry on.

All good for a few weeks and then that also wasn't enough to contain it.

My next move was to buy a pair of big girl's body sculpting compression pants to wear over the modified and enlarged truss contraption. The blurb said that they would make me look sexy....Jeez, and they're the colour of an NHS hearing aid. Should any Snowheads stray into the extremes of pecularity I'm telling you now that no photos exist OK?

I was chuffed to bits with the latest version and it did work, so I was able to work ...for a while. And then it started to not work so I'd adjust everything (not going to go into details but those that have had a hernia will know) and crack on again. The contraption started to fail sooner and sooner and to make matters worse I'd always end up with extra coarse sawdust from my chainsaw working its way into the inner regions of the modified truss.

Big day tomorrow. As everyone knows, anything can be fixed with either WD40 or duct tape. Well, arriving tomorrow is duct tape for humans. It's called Kinesiology Tape and is just like duct tape but apparently kinder to skin and it is slightly strechy. Got to be worth a try but will probably still wear the big girls pants over it for extra support. Something that does concern me a little is that shaving any skin that is taped over is essential or all hair is removed when the tape is removed. Don't bother Googling where the tape needs to be applied! Fingers crossed it'll work, at least a bit.

Anyway, am booked into BB start of Feb. Consultant I saw said that 90% of healing happens 2 weeks after operation. Lead up to Christmas is an incredibly busy time for me work wise and it would be far from ideal to not make hay while the sun shines etc. Clearly there was only one option, go private. so it looks like I'm hopefully having my hernia fixed a couple of days before Xmas eve. Might make for a slightly uncomfortable Christmas but skiing and working are both somewhat higher on my priority list.

Now here's why I bored you all to death....will I have problems getting winter holiday insurance about five weeks after a hernia op?

Cheers, and hopefully see some of you in Arabba.
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@sequoiaborg, jeez mate, you were really determined to work on. Respect. Shocked

I went private cos I wanted to be well healed by the time of the BB. I had it done by Spire in Wrexham on July 19th. Virtually no wait for the op. It was a bilateral under general anaesthetic. The surgeon did a TEP, where they insert the mesh between the skin and the sac/membrane protecting your organs. He inserted one long mesh instead of two separate ones, to strengthen the rest of my lower abdomen.

It was a lot more painful than I anticipated. My nether regions were literally black and blue for a couple of weeks. It felt like someone had been playing football with my nuts. Confused

All good now though. Got the okay from the consultant to start on the exercise bike again and skiing. I'm in the Chillfactore later today for a four hour session. First session since the op. It might be a little sore, but he said that's to be expected, but apparently nothing I do now can undo the work he has done. Happy days.

Hope it all goes well with you and see you in Arabba. snowHead
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
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sequoiaborg wrote:
Now here's why I bored you all to death....will I have problems getting winter holiday insurance about five weeks after a hernia op?

Cheers, and hopefully see some of you in Arabba.

Good grief, that's a painful saga. I could only offer the same advice I gave to Awdbugga, if you're in England you can be referred to any NHS hospital for treatment and some have shorter waiting lists than others. If you look up the NHS e referral system you should (eventually) find a page which show you waiting times for different ops in hospitals in England. Although, these days a wait until Feb is probably the norm.
If you're self employed can you get it done privately through your company books and offset against tax? I'm not a businessman so that may not be realistic.

Anyway, my guess is that you'll easily get insurance with a minor uplift in premium.

Good luck
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