The most common type of surgery for Sports Hernia is a herniorrhaphywhich can involve repairing a tear by suturing (reattaching) the lower abdominal (often the oblique muscles) and connective tissue (like conjoined tendon and inguinal ligament) to the bone. A synthetic, mesh screen is used to strengthen and reinforce the repair, and the inguinal ring is left intact (sometimes you will have mesh repair of the posterior wall of your inguinal canal). A herniorrhaphy can be performed via laparoscopy or open surgery. This procedure tends to be used more frequently in Europe than in North America.
Laparoscopic surgeryinvolves minimally invasive day surgery that requires anesthesia. A small incision (1/4 inch) is made below the belly button and a small, fiber-optic camera (laparoscope) is inserted to look for and repair the sports hernia (tear). You will generally have a brief recovery period that involves following the conservative treatments, and will resume your normal activities within 4 – 6 weeks.
Open surgery is more invasive and therefore not used as frequently. It involves making a larger incision (5 inches) in your abdomen, so the surgeon has direct access to all the structures and organs involved at one time. It requires a longer initial recovery period that involves following the conservative treatments, although you should still be able to resume normal activities within 4 – 6 weeks.
An Adductor Tenotomy may also be performed which involves releasing or loosening the adductor muscles or hip muscles, and/or releasing any entrapped nerve endings (see adductor strains for more details).
There are always some risks involved with surgery, which include but are not limited to blood in the abdominal cavity via puncturing a blood vessel or organ, hemorrhaging, inflammation of the abdominal cavity lining, abscess, problems related to general anesthesia. However, modern techniques have significantly minimized the occurrence of these problems. This surgery is not recommended if you have a heart or lung condition or intestinal disorder. Surgery is often successful at repairing Sports Hernia; however it does not mean you are completely healed. Tenderness, pain, stiffness, scar tissue development and weakness are common after surgery. That is why a strong commitment to rehabilitation utilizing the conservative treatments mentioned earlier is essential.
Your surgeon will provide a treatment plan to help you regain normal use as soon as possible. This will permit you to be back to light exercise within 2- 3 weeks, and your normal routine within 4 – 8 weeks. Keep in mind the longer you have your symptoms prior to treatment, the longer it will take to recuperate. If you return to your activities too soon, you could cause permanent damage. You want to ensure the strength, flexibility and stability of your pelvic muscles, before taking on too much. A general guideline to follow is when you can bend at the waist to touch your toes and straighten back up without pain and/or do a sit-up or abdominal crunch without pain you are ready to return to your regular activities.