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Hernia Blog

Comparing Laparoscopic vs. Open Hernia Repair

The two techniques which can be used for hernia repair are the traditional open surgery, and laparoscopic surgery. Both techniques offer excellent outcomes and only differ based on a few subtle areas. Below is a brief overview of the pros and cons of each type of hernia repair.

Patients can visit the individual pages for open hernia surgery and laparoscopic hernia surgery to watch videos of each type of surgery, review pictures and diagrams, and learn more details about that type of repair.

Divider Open Mesh Repair Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
Open Hernia Repair Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
Most common technique used for hernia repair. Techniques vary widely from surgeon to surgeon. Less common approach for hernia repair. Requires advanced training.
Can be done under local anesthesia with sedation. Requires complete general anesthesia.
Hernia is fixed on the outside by opening the muscles over the weakness. Hernia is fixed from the inside, behind the muscles where the weakness is located.
Requires standard surgical equipment. Requires advanced laparoscopic equipment.
Recurrence rates of 1-2% and infection rates of <1%. Recurrence rates of 1-2% and infection rates of <1%.
Basic preoperative workup is required. Occasionally requires more advanced workup because general anesthesia is used.
4-5 cm incision in the groin or bikini area. 1-2 cm incision next to the belly button, and 2 small punctures below the belly button.
Mesh is placed behind the muscle and above the muscle. The mesh is sutured in place. Mesh is placed only behind the muscle, and is secured in place with absorbable sutures.
On average, 1/3 of patients have little to no pain after surgery. 2/3 have moderate pain post op. On average, 2/3 of patients have little to no pain after surgery. 1/3 have moderate pain post op.
All patients will return to normal activities within 1-3 weeks. All patients will return to normal activities within 1-2 weeks.
Most cost effective option for cash patients. Higher costs for cash patients due to the additional laparoscopic equipment needed.
Surgery is usually about 30-45 minutes in length. Surgery is about 45-60 minutes in length.
Even the largest, most complex hernias can be repaired. Some large, chronic, long standing hernias can be difficult to repair.

Our Approach

Dr. Harris can discuss both options with you during your consultation to decide which method is best for you.

Although basic open surgical hernia repair is still an important option for some patients, every patient should consider being seen by a surgeon who can perform advanced laparoscopic hernia repair and who uses the newest lightweight mesh. Only a small handful of the hundreds of general surgeons in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego have the experience to perform hernia repair using laparoscopic techniques and use cutting edge lightweight mesh.


Listen to our past patients discuss their experiences with this topic:


Important points to consider when choosing a hernia surgeon:

  • The newest, advanced lightweight mesh can reduce not only recurrence rates for hernias, but also reduces the chance of postoperative mesh pain to almost zero.

  • Being treated at a specialized hernia center with an in-house accredited ASC provides the highest quality care before, during, and after your hernia surgery.

  • Patients should be seen by a surgeon who can offer all forms of hernia surgery, including open lightweight mesh techniques, as well as advanced laparoscopic techniques. This ensures the surgeon can offer the best technique tailored for each patient.

  • Costs for uninsured patients are approximately $1500 for the surgeon fees, and $2000 for the surgery center fees (including OR time, materials, and recovery) for a total of approximately $3500.

  • Some laparoscopic patients experience less pain post-operatively and may be able to return to normal activities sooner (when compared to traditional hernia repair). Laparoscopic hernia surgery can result in better patient experiences for some patients.

  • Nuestra oficina habla español. Haga clic aquí para español.


Dr. Harris sees patients from Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego. Our Newport Beach office is conveniently located in Central Orange county adjacent to John Wayne Airport between the 405, 73, and 55 highways.

Our office staff are experienced in verifying insurance coverage for each patient, as well as offering excellent pricing for patients without insurance (see costs above). We are happy to discuss all forms of payments with patients as needed.

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