Laparoscopic surgery can be used for hernia repair. Instead of one long incision, four or five tiny incisions are made in the area around the hernia. A device called a laparoscope, which is a miniature scope attached to a video camera, is inserted into one of the incisions. The surgeon is able to see the hernia and the surrounding tissue and organs on a video screen.
Instruments used to repair the hernia are inserted through the other incisions and the operation proceeds in much the same way as open surgery. Advantages of this technique include shorter recovery time and less postoperative pain. A major disadvantage is that it must be performed under general anesthesia, which carries slightly more risks than local or epidural anesthesia. Laparoscopic hernia repair has only been used for a few years, and most current research shows it to be safe and effective. In the right hands, it is an excellent choice for most patients, especially those with larger hernias and recurrent hernias.