Skip to Main Content
A young woman snacks on a plate of assorted fruits to help improve her digestive health.

What is hernia surgery?

Hernia surgery is a medical procedure used to repair a hernia, which occurs when an organ or tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue.

During the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision near the hernia and gently pushes the protruding tissue back into place. The weak spot in the muscle or connective tissue is then reinforced with a mesh or sutures to prevent the hernia from recurring.

What are the types of hernia surgery?

  • Open Hernia Repair: This is the traditional method of repairing a hernia, in which the surgeon makes an incision near the hernia, pushes the protruding tissue back into place, and reinforces the weakened area with mesh or sutures.
  • Laparoscopic Hernia Repair: This is a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen and uses a laparoscope (a small camera) to view the hernia and repair it with mesh.
  • Robotic Hernia Repair: This is a variation of laparoscopic surgery—in which the surgeon uses a robotic system to perform the procedure— that provides enhanced visualization and greater precision than traditional laparoscopic surgery.
  • Umbilical Hernia Repair: This is an open or laparoscopic surgery designed to repair hernias around the belly button (umbilicus).
  • Inguinal Hernia Repair: This type of surgery is specifically designed to repair hernias in the groin area.
  • Hiatal Hernia Repair: This type of surgery is designed to repair hernias that occur in the diaphragm, near the stomach.

What are the benefits of hernia surgery?

  • Pain Relief: Hernias can cause discomfort or pain, which can be relieved by repairing the hernia.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Hernias can affect daily activities such as work, exercise, and even simple movements such as coughing or lifting. Repairing the hernia can improve your quality of life by reducing limitations on your daily activities.
  • Prevention of Complications: Hernias can lead to complications such as bowel obstruction or strangulation. Repairing the hernia can prevent these complications from occurring.
  • Low Risk of Recurrence: Hernia surgery, when performed correctly, has a low risk of recurrence, meaning that the hernia is less likely to come back after surgery.
  • Minimally Invasive: Many hernia surgeries are now performed using minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery, which can result in less pain, smaller scars, and faster recovery times.

What are the risks of hernia surgery?

  • Bleeding: Surgery may cause excessive bleeding, requiring blood transfusions or additional surgical intervention.
  • Infection: Surgery may result in diseases at the incision site or in other areas of the body.
  • Anesthesia Complications: Complications related to anesthesia, such as allergic reactions or breathing difficulties, can occur.
  • Damage to Surrounding Organs: During surgery, surrounding organs, blood vessels, or nerves may be accidentally damaged, leading to further complications.
  • Chronic Pain: Some patients may experience chronic pain after surgery.
  • Recurrence: Although hernia surgery has a low risk of recurrence, it is still possible for the hernia to return.
  • Blood Clots: Surgery can increase the risk of developing blood clots, which can be serious and potentially life-threatening.
  • Urinary Retention: Difficulty passing urine after surgery can occur in some patients.

Our experienced, board-certified gastroenterologists serve patients throughout the Greater Houston area. No matter where you live or which location you choose, you can trust that we will provide the same patient-centered standards of quality care to everyone.

Featured updates

4 Surprising Facts to Slow Down Aging and Boost Brain Health

FEB 27, 2024

Small lifestyle changes can go a long way in managing age-related physical and mental changes. Here are four surprising facts to help you embrace healthier habits as you age.

Read More Additional information about 4 Surprising Facts to Slow Down Aging and Boost Brain Health

Addressing Challenges in Rural Health Care

FEB 17, 2024

Learn about the health care challenges facing rural communities and how the St. Luke’s Health leadership team is helping find solutions.

Read More Additional information about Addressing Challenges in Rural Health Care

Find a gastroenterologist


Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.

U.S. News & World Report


U.S News & World Report has recognized Baylor St. Luke's Health Medical Center as one of the best hospitals for several specialties.