SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Hernias are more common than you may think. While they’re often harmless and pain-free, they can result in pain and serious complications.
A hernia happens when organs and tissues push through or herniate the muscular wall called the peritoneum. A Scranton-based surgeon who specializes in hernia repair gave Eyewitness News Healthbeat reporter Mark Hiller a behind-the-scenes look at how she gets patients on the mend.
Seated behind a computer console in the corner of an operating room at Commonwealth Health Regional Hospital of Scranton, Dr. Kelly McGuire did what she’s done more than 500 other times. She performed robotic-assisted hernia surgery.
“Where hernia repair shines is in the robotic surgery and the laparoscopic surgery because you get these small poke holes and you don’t even have an incision in the area,” she said.
It’s revolutionized hernia repair. Instead of traditional open surgery which for years was the gold standard, human hands are replaced with robotic arms. Demonstrating from her Clay Avenue office, Dr. McGuire said: “These are the robotic arms and they actually have a 360-degree range of motion.”
Compare that to the human wrist which only has a 270-degree range of motion.
“So, we actually get more motion and dexterity with the robotic arms,” she said who acknowledges that it allows for much greater precision.
Then there’s the visualization robotic surgery provides which Dr. McGuire considers extraordinary.
“It’s called the stereoscopic where that means each eye has its own visual screen and they’re combined within the machine,” Dr. McGuire said.
It allows her to see both sides of the hernia.
While most hernias occur in the groin, not all do. In the case shown in her behind-the-scenes video, Dr. McGuire performed what’s called a ventral hernia repair.
“Ventral means right in the center of the abdominal wall which is a weak point in the abdominal wall because it’s not covered with muscle,” Dr. McGuire said.
Wherever the hernia may be, Dr. McGuire wants her patients to know they can expect less down time and less pain thanks to robotic assisted hernia surgery.
“To get the repair without the complications of any wound infections or even pain, that’s just become the way to do it,” said Dr. McGuire.
The risk of hernia increases with age and is more common among men than women. It’s vital to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Be sure to discuss with your doctor if you suspect you have a hernia.