Robot-assisted hernia repair surgery benefits doctors, patients

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FREMONT, Neb. About five million people in the United States develop Hernias every year.

Inguinal Hernias are the most common.

There are a number of options to repair the problem.

In this month's Health Check - Serese Cole shows us why a robot-assisted surgery may be a better choice for doctors and patients.

"I like to garden. I like to be outside. I like to be active."

There's not much that can slow down 64-year-old Dan Hoffman.

But an alarming ache - came close.

"Mainly I had a little discomfort in my groin area," Hoffman said.

That discomfort turned out to be Hernia.

Inguinal Hernia is a weakness in your groin," said Methodist-Fremont Health General Surgery Specialist Dr. Christopher Gartin. Typically people will feel a bulge or enlargement in their groin," Dr. Gartin added.

He says there are several ways to fix the problem.

"Laparoscopic or robotic repair - which basically entails you going in and putting a camera inside the abdomen and then repairing it from the inside."

Both are minimally invasive procedures.

"They would use the same incisions. The advantage of using a robot, in my opinion, is often times you get better visualization of the anatomy," Dr. Gartin explained.

That's because the view from the robot is in 3-D.

"You also have better dexterity. With a laparoscopic procedure. You have some long instruments. "The robot isn't limited by your wrists. It has full range of motion. It's flexible and it can go in all different directions," Dr. Gartin added.

Better vision and precision means greater accuracy with the Robot-Assisted Inguinal Hernia repair procedure.

"Dr. Gartin says there are two main benefits to this type of procedure: Less pain for the patient and a quicker recovery time.

Just ask Dan.

Three months have passed since Dan's hernia surgery.

His discomfort is now replaced with just a few small scars.

"Oh I feel great now," Dan said.

And now - he's back to the activities he loves most.

You can actually be born with a Hernia or it can develop over time.
It's often caused by coughing, smoking or from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). People who do a lot of heavy lifting or straining are also at risk. Males of all ages are most at risk of developing the condition.