Hernia Repair Surgery
A hernia occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal wall weaken, then bulge or tear. Next, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area to form a balloon-like sac into which a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue may slip, resulting in pain and other potentially serious health problems.
In most cases, hernias are not an emergency and patients can speak to their doctor about their options. However, a hernia can become incarcerated (trapped) and strangulated which reduces blood to the small intestine. This can be life threatening and requires immediate attention and surgery. In all cases, however, hernias will eventually require surgery – the sooner the better, to avoid complications and more intensive surgery.
Types and Causes of Hernias
There are several types of hernia that include:
- Inguinal (groin) hernias – these are by far the most common hernias and can be present due to a weak area in the groin muscle at birth or may occur later in life due to excessive straining
- Fermoral hernias also occur in the groin, but lower than an inguinal hernia. These hernias have a higher risk of strangulation and should be treated as soon as possible. Femoral hernias are more common in women than in men
- Umbilical hernias are those that present themselves at the umbilicus, or the bellybutton. This part of the abdomen is inherently weaker from birth as a result the umbilical cord. Some children develop umbilical hernias at birth, some of which resolve over time. Others need to be surgically repaired. Even those hernias that resolve at a young age may manifest later in life, especially when a woman becomes pregnant
- Incisional hernias are those that occur as a result of any kind of perforation of the abdominal wall due to a previous surgery. Whenever the abdominal wall is cut, that area becomes inherently weaker. Risk factors include poor healing after surgery, obesity, infection and even certain medication.
Learn More About the Most Common Types of Hernias
Symptoms and Diagnosis of a Hernia
There are two telltale symptoms of a hernia – bulging under the skin and pain.
The bulging under the skin forms as the abdominal lining begins to push through the muscle wall or fascia. Some patients may not feel the bulge when they are lying down as the sac will drop back into the abdomen. However, this does not mean that the abdominal wall will repair itself. The hernia will simply begin to bulge when the patient resumes an upright position.
Not all serious hernias have commensurate pain. In fact, a smaller hernia may be more painful than a larger one. However, a strangulated hernia will produce considerable pain and require immediate attention.
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Surgical Treatment for Hernias
Surgery is the only option to repair a hernia, as the body cannot repair a hernia on its own. We specialize in minimally invasive surgery to repair ventral/incisional hernias of the groin, as well as inguinal hernias appearing at the site of a prior surgical incision.
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There are times, especially in cases where there is excessive scar tissue formation at the hernia site or multiple hernias, that we must use open surgery to place the mesh and mend the hernia. After a thorough evaluation and consultation, we will be able to offer you guidance on whether the procedure should be performed in an open or minimally invasive manner.
Learn More About How Hernia Surgery Works