Friday, December 12, 2014


This is the Shouldice Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. It is a private hospital founded in 1944 that does only one thing - hernia repair.

I had the, um, pleasure of spending 4 nights there in November.

The 'typical' hospital repair involves pushing the hernia back in, stitching the muscle where it broke through and placing a piece of 'mesh' over the stitching (but under the skin) to act as a reinforcement against future breaching. This is usually done as an out patient procedure that takes under an hour. So IN and OUT. However, for the next 5 weeks or so you are not supposed to lift more than 5 lbs or risk damaging the repair.

You can imagine - not lifting 5 lbs for 5 weeks on a farm is just not on.

I had heard that the Shouldice was the best place to go and that they had the highest success rate (less than half of 1% failure). Somehow in my mind I took that to mean it was the least invasive procedure. Um. Wrong.

I was gutted like a catfish (small exaggeration). But what they do is slice the entire muscle area open, push the hernia back inside, and then split the muscle on each side into layers. Layer one on the left is overlapped onto layer one on the right and then sutured. Then layer two from the right is overlapped onto layer two from the left and sutured. And so on. Then stapling the outer skin together in a fold with many many staples.

The day after the surgery they remove half the staples. And the day after than they remove the rest. Then the following morning they double check the healing of the incision and boot you out the door (and into the accounting office door ;) )

But here's the thing - no restrictions. The only thing the surgeon said was that lifting more than 25 lbs during the first week would be uncomfortable because of post operative swelling, but even so would not jeopardize the surgery.

Basically, they have rebuilt the muscle instead of blanket stitch two sides together.

People come from all over the world to have their hernias dealt with here. Prime Ministers, princes, high falootin rootin tootin personalities. And farmers.

If you ever find yourself if need of hernia repair I highly recommend you consider this vs the standard cut and paste procedures done by local hospitals.


  1. Good to know and happy healing to you!
    Blogless Mary Lou

  2. Bonjour, you did not blogg for a while ; I worried, thinking about a health disaster ; who knows ? But it was just repairing :-)) Please take it easy on the farm. Elisabeth

  3. I have been wondering what happened to you. So happy to hear you are doing well and had such a good place to have your surgery.

  4. Well, I am happy that you are on the mend! Still, be careful. I know, easier said than done.