Hernia surgery is a common operation. In Germany alone, up to 250,000 inguinal hernias are operated on each year, with global figures rising to as many as 20 million procedures. As a result, hernia surgery is part of the training and one of the fundamental skills of any surgeon: everyone can do hernias!
So why visit the Munich Hernia Centre, if everyone can do them?
Maybe because the results are not as good as we might like to hope for. Nowadays, patients are confronted with a confusing number of repair methods. Every surgeon believes their method is the "best" one. Accordingly, there should be not post-operative pain or any recurrences after surgery. Current figures from the quality assurance study performed using Herniamed, the German hernia registry, paint a different picture: over 10% of patients report residual symptoms after 12 months. They suffer from chronic post-operative groin pain, regardless of the surgical technique used. Moreover, every one in ten patients undergoes further surgery, despite an increase in the number of mesh procedures carried out.
When Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck founded the Hernia Centre in Munich 1993, the outpatient treatment of inguinal hernias under local anaesthetic was a new concept. At this time, almost all incisional hernias were operated on as inpatients under general anaesthesia.
The patient remained in hospital for up to a week and then had to rest for a further 3 weeks, and avoid lifting heavy loads for up to 3 months! Today, our patients are mostly treated as outpatients in the Munich Hernia Centre and undergo surgery under local anaesthetic, with the decision being made whether a mesh is needed or not during the surgery. Post-operative rest is no longer recommended.
After over 5 years of working with the centre, Dr. Joachim Conze took over as head of the UM Munich Hernia Centre at the start of 2018. Prior to this, Dr. Conze worked in the Department of General, Abdominal and Transplant Surgery at the University Hospital of the RTWH Aachen, focusing in both his clinical and research work primarily on abdominal wall hernias and their treatment. He is a co-founder of the German Hernia Society and has been its General Secretary ever since. He is the co-author of numerous publications on hernias and regularly delivers speeches at national and international congresses. Dr. Conze belongs to an international research group made up of hernia surgeons, who draw up the guidelines for the surgical treatment of hernias.