It’s called ‘open’ because an incision is made in the skin, over the place where the hernia is. The incision is about 5-6 cm long.
If you are having a local anaesthetic it is the open operation that will be used.
I use lightweight mesh – and a ‘tension-free’ mesh repair.
The open mesh repair has a lot of advantages. It is relatively straightforward to carry out, it is safe and has a very low chance of the hernia coming back. It can be can be carried out under a local anaesthetic.
I use it in almost all of my patients, whatever their age or medical condition, although it is ideal for elderly or medically unwell people.
A Californian surgeon, Irving Lichtenstein, developed and really popularised the open mesh repair, and obtained excellent results, so the basic form of the ‘tension-free’ repair is often called the Lichtenstein repair.
The keyhole surgeons say the open repair gives more early post-operative pain, but in my personal experience this is only by 2 or 3 days.
If you decide to have an open repair ideally try to find a surgeon who is happy to do it using local anaesthetic – it is an indicator that he is a fairly experienced hernia surgeon.