What is a hernia?
- A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall.
- Sites; Many hernias occur in the abdomen between your chest and hips, but they can also appear in the upper thigh and groin areas.
- Most hernias aren’t immediately life-threatening, but they don’t go away on their own.
- Sometimes they can require surgery to prevent dangerous complications.
Symptoms of a Hernia:
The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump in the affected area. For example, in the case of an inguinal hernia, you may notice a lump on either side of your pubic bone where your groin and thigh meet.
- You may find that the lump disappears when you’re lying down. You’re more likely to feel your hernia through touch when you’re standing up, bending down, or coughing.
- Discomfort or pain in the area around the lump may also be present.
- Some types of hernia, such as hiatal hernias, can have more specific symptoms. These can include things like heartburn, trouble swallowing, and chest pain.
- In many cases, hernias have no symptoms. You may not know you have a hernia unless it shows up during a routine physical or a medical exam for an unrelated problem.
It’s important to recognize the signs of a hernia and to see your doctor if you suspect that you have one.
An untreated hernia won’t go away by itself. Your doctor can assess your hernia and determine how it can best be treated.
Hernias can cause complications that are life-threatening. It’s important that you seek emergency care if you experience symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, fever, or sudden pain.
Early medical care and lifestyle changes can minimize symptoms. However, surgery is the only way to effectively treat a hernia.
There are different types of surgeries available to repair hernias, and your surgeon can advise on which one is right for your condition.
The prognosis for hernia repair surgery is generally very good, but can depend on the nature of the hernia, your symptoms, and your overall health.
In some cases, the hernia may recur following repair.
- If your hernia is growing larger or causing pain, your surgeon may decide it’s best to operate.
- They may repair your hernia by sewing the hole in the abdominal wall closed during surgery. This is commonly done by patching the hole with surgical mesh.
- Hernias can be repaired with either open or laparoscopic surgery.
- Laparoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera and miniaturized surgical equipment to repair the hernia using only a few small incisions. It’s also less damaging to the surrounding tissue.
- During open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision close to the site of the hernia, and then pushes the bulging tissue back into the abdomen. They then sew the area shut, sometimes reinforcing it with surgical mesh. Finally, they close the incision.
- Not all hernias are suitable for laparoscopic surgery. If your hernia requires an open surgical repair, your surgeon will work with you to determine which type of surgery is best for your condition.
- After your surgery, you may experience pain around the surgical site. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to help ease this discomfort while you recover.
- Be sure to carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions involving wound care. Contact them promptly if you notice any signs of infection such as fever, redness or drainage at the site, or pain that suddenly worsens.
- Following your Hernia Repair, you may be unable to move around normally for several weeks. You’ll need to avoid any strenuous activity. Additionally, you should avoid lifting objects heavier than 10 pounds during this period. This is approximately the weight of a gallon of milk.
Open surgery often requires a longer recovery process than laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon will let you know when you can return to your normal routine.