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What is Body Wall Herniorrhaphy?

Hernias occur in your cat when tears or openings in your cat’s body wall occur and allow body organs and tissues to pass through, causing a bulge where organs are protruding from their appropriate body cavity. Herniorrhaphy is surgical repair of a hernia, by returning organs to their body cavity and suturing the opening in the body cavity. Although hernias can occasionally be addressed without surgical intervention, surgery to replace body organs to the appropriate cavity and repair tears is often recommended, as organs that become trapped or strangulated in the body wall have their blood supplies cut off, and can result in life-threatening conditions. To conduct herniorrhaphy, simple surgical repair, the tissue needs to be healthy allowing closure of natural tissues present. If mesh or synthetic material are required to close off the opening due to damaged tissue or a large opening, a procedure referred to as hernioplasty may be required. Herniorrhaphy requires general anesthetic and is performed by a veterinary surgeon. 

Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Procedure in Cats

Body wall herniorrhaphy may be performed laparoscopically or by open surgery in your cat. Your cat will be physically examined prior to surgery and blood work conducted if deemed necessary to ensure that undue risk from underlying medical conditions that would complicate surgery are not present. 

This procedure is often performed at the time of spay or neuter, as discovery of umbilical hernias may occur at the time of a desexing procedure. 

You will need to fast your cat prior to surgery. Your cat will be sedated and put under general anesthetic for the procedure. The area where laparoscopic incisions or incision for open surgery over the hernia sac will be shaved and cleaned. The area will be isolated with surgical drapes to ensure a sterile site. Incisions to access the herniated area will be made and muscle around the hernia opening will be excised if damaged. Herniated organs are gently manipulated back into their appropriate cavity and the tear in the muscle opening is repaired with sutures. If the opening is large or a large amount of damaged tissue had to be excised, hernioplasty may be conducted using synthetic mesh to close the opening. Once the hernia opening in the body wall is repaired the incision is then closed. Postoperative care is usually minimal and straightforward.

Efficacy of Body Wall Herniorrhaphy in Cats

Surgical repair of hernias is effective at resolving the condition and prognosis for your cat is good. Recurrence and complications are rare, although hernias can recurr if damaged tissue is not addressed or your pet does not heal fully before returning to activity.

Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Recovery in Cats

You will need to administer pain medication post surgery and monitor your cat for signs of infection at the incision, lethargy, or decreased appetite that would indicate infection or other complications in your cat. An e-collar will be used to prevent your cat from interfering with the surgical incision. Keep your cat's activity restricted until the repair has sufficient time to heal. This may require cage rest for a few days in a young active cat. Keep your cat indoors and do not allow them to roughhouse, jump, or climb for several days post surgery. You will need to follow up with your veterinarian if stitches need to be removed. Your veterinarian will provide you with information on post surgical care and follow-up requirements.

Cost of Body Wall Herniorrhaphy in Cats

The cost of body wall herniorrhaphy in cats ranges from $200-$500 depending on the cost of living in your area, including anesthesia and procedure.

Cat Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Considerations

There is a risk from anesthesia and infection with any surgical procedure. Ensuring your cat is healthy prior to undergoing surgery addresses these concerns and close monitoring of your cat post-surgery helps ensure healing occurs without complications. Hernias can recurr and you will need to ensure that your cat is fully recovered before they are allowed to resume normal activity. 

Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Prevention in Cats

If congenital hernias occur, ensure that cats that experience these are removed from breeding programs so these defects are not passed on to offspring. Reducing hernias caused by trauma can be achieved by ensuring that your cat has a safe environment. Keeping cats leashed, enclosed, or monitored when outside will reduce the incidence of motor vehicle accidents and removing hazards in your home will reduce the likelihood of household accidents.