Experts in Treating all Types of Hernias
Hernias occur when a weak spot or hole develops in muscle or tissue. Ventral hernias include any hernia that protrudes through a gap in the abdominal wall. Incisional hernias occur at an incision site or surgical scar following abdominal surgery.
The most common type of hernia is an inguinal hernia, also known as a groin hernia. It occurs when abdominal tissue pushes through the lower abdominal wall, near the groin. They are more likely to occur in men.
Women are more likely to get an umbilical hernia. It occurs when tissue or muscle pushes through the belly button. Multiple pregnancies, being overweight, straining, and other factors can increase your likelihood of having an umbilical hernia. The same factors cause women to be more likely to develop a femoral hernia in the upper part of the thigh, near the groin.
Hiatal hernias occur when the stomach and other abdominal organs enter the chest area through a naturally occurring hole in the diaphragm.
When to Seek Hernia Treatment
Seek expert medical care when a bulge in your abdomen or groin causes pain and discomfort. Hernias cannot heal on their own. They sometimes require immediate care to prevent further damage such as bowel obstruction. Getting hernia surgery now can prevent the need for more complex surgery in the future.
Diagnosing Hernias and Pre-Surgical Care
Physical Exam and Imaging Tests
The first step will be a physical exam. Your surgeon will visually and physically assess the hernia to evaluate its location and size. You will be asked questions to understand your symptoms. CT scans and ultrasounds may be ordered to determine the size and location of your hernia accurately. This information will help us create your treatment plan.
Controlling Risk Factors that Can Cause Complications
During the initial assessment, we review your medical history to assess your risk for complications during and following surgery. Certain factors, including diabetes, smoking, and obesity can increase your risk for infection and hernia recurrence and affect how quickly you recover from hernia surgery.
We may refer you to our smoking cessation and/or weight management program if appropriate. These teams of experts can help you lose weight and stop smoking to decrease your risk for complications and improve your candidacy for surgery.
Choosing the Right Approach to Your Hernia Surgery
Your hernia surgeon will determine the best approach for your hernia surgery that will increase the likelihood you have a positive outcome and decrease your risk of complications and hernia recurrence. Our hernia surgeons are experts in the following types of hernia surgery.
Laparoscopic or Robotic (Minimally Invasive) Hernia Surgery
When appropriate, small incisions may be used that cause less pain and help you recover faster. A laparoscope is a thin tube with a small camera at the tip. It is passed through small incisions made in the abdomen. Tiny instruments are passed through separate small incisions to repair the hernia. In some cases, your surgeon may perform robotic hernia surgery. Using a robotic device allows your hernia surgeon to reach the hernia and perform complicated hernia operations with more precision and better visualization.
Open Hernia Surgery
When larger, complex hernias are present or risk factors and complications are a concern, larger incisions may be necessary. This is referred to as open hernia surgery.
This advanced procedure is used to repair large abdominal wall hernias. The surgeon will rearrange the muscles of the abdominal wall to eliminate the weakness. This technique can minimize the risk of recurrence in complex hernias.
Hernia Surgery Recovery
Hernia operations can be simple or complex. They may be minimally invasive and require no overnight hospital stay or a very brief overnight recovery. Or they may require larger incisions and a longer hospital stay. Your recovery will be equally variable. It will depend on your hernia type, size, and location; whether you’ve had past surgeries and known risk factors for complications; and whether hernia mesh is used. Your surgeon will discuss all of these options with you at your preoperative visit.
Using Hernia Mesh in Surgery
Hernia mesh is frequently used in surgery to strengthen and reinforce the hernia repair and decrease the risk of hernia recurrence. Hernia mesh can be associated with complications, including an increased risk of pain and infection; however, these complications are uncommon when hernia mesh is used by an experienced hernia surgeon.
We Lower Your Risk of Hernia Mesh Complications
Our pre-surgical evaluation identifies people who may be at risk for complications associated with hernia mesh. Being obese, smoking, having diabetes, and having known wound complications are all risk factors. If you have one or more of these risk factors, we work with you to reduce your risk for complications to ensure you have a positive outcome after hernia surgery.