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About us >Day surgery via the Internet (Why choose the Internet?)

In January 2004 the Melbourne Hernia Clinic published a review article in the MEJFM dealing with - "The classification of hernia, their examination and surgical management". Over the past twenty-five years the Clinic has treated well over 10,000 hernias. Surgery is performed under Local Anaesthetic and light sedation with a mesh reinforcement as a day case.

The clinic also has taken a special interest in repairing more complex cases such as incisional hernias. This is usually carried out under a General Anaesthetic. There may be an associated abdominoplasty. We will be publishing more information about this and the use of mesh in the near future.

In certain circumstances "laparoscopic" keyhole hernia repair is also available.

Mr Maurice Brygel and Mr Charles Leinkram of the Melbourne Hernia Clinic and the Sydney Hernia Centre, Australia, routinely audit their cases, and are now presenting some of the outcomes, results and observations.

HERNIA REFERRAL:

Around 2004 a hernia Website was established in the name of Melbourne Hernia Clinic: www.hernia.net.au and www.sydneyherniacentre.net.au or you can just Google "hernia" and gain direct access to the Website.

This has led to an unexpected increase in referral of patients.

In 2007 out of the 410 patients operated upon approximately 1/3rd were referred via the Website. There were others who were referred by their doctor but sought further information through our Website prior to attending. Also numerous patients were seen who did not require surgery.

The majority of Internet patients rang to make a booking but many from the country, Interstate or overseas initially emailed us. We also received email requests for second opinions from patients who were having a problem, e.g. post-operative complications or difficulty getting advice. We were glad to point these patients in the right direction if possible.

We also received many emails thanking the Clinic for the information provided as it helped patients make informed decisions about their management.

We always spoke to country, interstate or overseas patients before they visited. This was to ensure that they actually had a hernia. If the patients had not noticed a lump and had been suffering from groin pain, which sounded to be of a chronic nature we informed them that this might not be a hernia. We pointed out to them that we could not guarantee to recommend surgery in these circumstances. We suggested they seek further opinions before travelling a long distance to see us.

An analysis of the patients referred because of the Website showed that more 70% were from all over Melbourne. Up to 20% were from the country and 10% from Interstate or overseas. Conventionally referred patients are mostly from a nearby locale.

The reasons given for self-referral from the Website were:

  1. Wanted a Specialist in hernia repair,
  2. Wanted to avoid a G/A,
  3. Wanted early treatment (avoiding long waiting lists),
  4. Day surgery made it affordable even if they were not insured.
  5. Wanted a particular technique in our case the Lichtenstein tension free technique with onlay mesh.
  6. Some felt they wanted to make their own decision the Internet empowers.
  7. Preferred to know whom they were actually seeing. Patients might not have had their own regular General Practitioner and felt they know more about the Surgeon by viewing the Website.

In future will patients be Skyping us with their interview and demonstrating their hernias from remote areas - is this the future?

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