How Long Does Hernia Surgery Take? Understanding the Ins and Outs

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 14th, 2023

Dealing with a hernia is not only a matter of physical discomfort but also an emotional challenge filled with questions and concerns. You’ve probably found yourself asking, “How long does hernia surgery take?” Well, you’ve come to the right place. With expertise in medical topics, this editorial aims to provide you with comprehensive information about hernia surgery duration, types, and what to expect during recovery. Knowing these details can greatly alleviate anxiety and assist you in making an informed decision about your health.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia occurs when a part of an organ, typically the intestine, pokes through a weak or torn area in the surrounding muscle or tissue. While hernias often manifest in the abdominal or groin area, their impact on daily life can vary. Though not always painful, hernias can cause escalating discomfort over time and can lead to further complications if left untreated.

surgeon chops mesh for hernia

What Factors Determine the Length of Hernia Surgery?

The duration of hernia surgery can vary depending on several factors. Routine hernia operations can be completed in as little as 30 minutes to as much as 90 minutes. However, open complex hernia surgeries, often necessary for large or multiple hernias, can span between three to six hours.

After the surgery, patients usually spend approximately 1-2 hours in the recovery room before being allowed to go home, provided no complications arise.

Surgical Methods and Their Timeframes

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic, or “keyhole,” surgery is commonly recommended for smaller hernias measuring less than 1.5 inches in diameter. During this procedure, surgeons make three small incisions in your abdomen. One incision is for the laparoscope, a specialized camera that guides the surgeon. The other two allow surgical instruments access to repair the hernia.

Transabdominal Preperitoneal (TAPP)

In TAPP surgery, instruments are inserted through your abdominal wall and the lining surrounding your organs. A mesh is then stapled or sutured to strengthen the abdominal wall.

Totally Extraperitoneal (TEP)

In TEP, the procedure is similar to TAPP, but the peritoneal cavity is not accessed. This is a newer technique and also involves the placement of a mesh to reinforce the weakened area.

Open Surgery

Open surgery is generally recommended for hernias larger than 1.5 inches. This method involves a single, longer incision directly over the hernia site. After making the incision, the surgeon repositions the protruding organ and reinforces the weakened area with a mesh. The recovery time for open surgery is usually longer compared to laparoscopic methods.

Recognizing Hernia Symptoms

The symptoms of a hernia typically include a visible lump and possibly discomfort or pain, particularly when standing, lifting heavy objects, or exerting yourself. However, some hernias like hiatal hernias might not present an obvious bulge but can cause symptoms like acid reflux or heartburn. Therefore, a proper diagnosis often requires a physical examination and sometimes additional imaging tests.

Potential Complications of Hernia Surgery

Though hernia surgery is widely regarded as a safe procedure, it’s important to be aware of possible complications. These can range from infections and bleeding to nerve damage and risks to surrounding organs. In rare instances, hernias may reoccur after surgery, requiring additional treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider for an exhaustive understanding of the risks tailored to your specific condition.


When it comes to hernia surgery, the complexity and type of your hernia are critical factors that determine the length of the surgery and recovery time. While laparoscopic surgeries are quicker and involve less downtime, open surgeries are more invasive and can take longer to recover from. Regardless of the method chosen, most people can expect to return to work within three days to two weeks. Armed with this information, you’re now better prepared to discuss your options with your healthcare provider, making your path to recovery smoother and more predictable.


Editorial Staff

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