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Conditions We Treat

Our Hernia Center specializes in the treatment of many different types of hernias, including…

  • Inguinal hernias
  • Femoral hernias
  • Umbilical hernias
  • Ventral hernias
  • Incisional hernias
  • Spigelian hernias
  • Epigastric hernias

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a hole in a muscle. The abdominal cavity is essentially a basket of muscle holding your organs within it. A weakness in the basket will often lead to a hole, which is by definition a hernia. Symptoms may develop as the hole becomes larger or when internal organs, usually intestines, begin to push through the hole.

What causes a hernia?

Heavy lifting, excess abdominal weight, chronic coughing, pregnancy, sports injuries and straining due to constipation are common causes, but some weaknesses in the abdominal wall or hernias are present at birth and can worsen with time.

What is an incarcerated hernia?

Incarceration means something, usually intestines or intra-abdominal fat, is stuck within the hernia in the abdominal wall. This can lead to obstruction of the intestines, which can result in severe pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting. This condition may progress to strangulation, which involves compromised blood flow to the organ stuck within the hernia. These can often become emergency situations and are best avoided if possible.

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

The most common symptoms of a hernia are discomfort and swelling. Discomfort can range from an intermittent twinge or dull ache to severe pain or burning. Swelling can range from either mild asymmetry or swelling to a large firm lump. Severe acute pain associated with a firm lump should prompt immediate evaluation.

How is a hernia diagnosed?

Most hernias can be diagnosed by physical examination from a qualified health care provider. Symptoms suggestive of a hernia, without obvious physical evidence of one, warrant an evaluation by a surgeon with expertise in this area. On occasion, a sonogram, CT scan or MRI may be necessary.

How is a hernia treated?

If a hernia is small and not causing any symptoms, watchful waiting may be acceptable. However, if a hernia protrudes or if any symptoms are present, then it should be repaired.

Most hernias repaired by this center are done in about thirty minutes as an outpatient procedure. Most are done without general anesthesia, utilizing local anesthesia with IV sedation instead. This is safer, more comfortable and less stressful for most patients.

Most hernias are repaired using small incisions and minimally invasive techniques. Soft flexible meshes are often used to repair hernias in a “tension-free” fashion, resulting in less pain, quicker recuperation and less chance of recurrence.

Can I reduce my risk of developing a hernia?

Yes.

Avoid lifting heavy objects. But when necessary, breathe through a lift and bend from the knees, not the waist. Moving furniture, carrying suitcases, shoveling snow and weight lifting at the gym are common activities resulting in hernias.

Maintain a healthy weight, by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eat less and move more.A healthy diet devoid of processed food and full of fiber will usually eliminate constipation, which is a common cause of hernia formation, especially in older people.

Stop smoking. This dangerous habit often leads to a chronic cough, which can result in a hernia.

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