What is a Hernia?
A hernia is an opening or a “hole” which is caused by a weakening of the muscles of the abdominal wall. As a result, the tissues or organs inside your abdomen (usually fat or intestines) can bulge out through this opening in the muscles. Any part of the abdominal wall can weaken and cause a hernia, but the most common sites are the groin (inguinal hernia), the belly button (umbilical hernia), and a previous surgical incision site (incisional hernia).
Hernias often can be pushed back into place (reduced). Most hernias tend to get worse over time. Problems can occur when abdominal contents get stuck in the opening of the hernia. This is called incarceration. The blood supply to the organs in the incarcerated hernia (usually your intestines) becomes blocked (strangulated hernia). If this happens, emergency surgery is required to fix the hernia and save the intestine from dying. Because of these risks, elective surgery to repair the hernia is recommended.
What is the Cause of a Hernia?
In adults, hernias develop over time. Factors which increase chances of hernia formation include:
- Constant straining of the muscles of the lower abdomen.
- Lifting heavy objects.
- Straining to have a bowel movement. Hard, infrequent bowel movements (constipation) can lead to this.
- Constant coughing. This may be caused by smoking or lung disease.
- Being overweight.
What Are the Common Hernia Symptoms?
- Visible bulge in the groin or scrotum area, especially with coughing or straining.
- Pain or pressure at the hernia site
Hernia Treatment Options
- Open hernia repair
- Dr. Zadeh will make an incision over the hernia site and repair the hernia with mesh or, rarely, by stitching the muscle closed.
- Laparoscopic hernia repair
- During laparoscopic hernia surgery, Dr. Zadeh will make three ½-1cm incisions in the abdominal wall. A long, thin camera (laparoscope) is inserted through an access tube in one incision and two surgical instruments are placed through the remaining incisions. The camera gives Dr. Zadeh an “internal” view of the abdominal wall and the hernia which is displayed on a video screen in the operating room. The hernia is then repaired from the inside of the abdominal wall using a piece of surgical mesh
Benefits of surgery to fix your hernia
Surgery is the only way to repair a hernia. After hernia surgery, you can return to your normal activities and–in most cases–will not have further discomfort.
Risk of not having an operation
Your hernia pain and the size can increase. If your intestine becomes trapped in the hernia pouch, you will have sudden pain, vomiting and require an immediate operation with possible removal of the involved intestine.
Possible complications include:
- Return of the hernia
- Smoking and having other diseases can increase the infection rate.
- A collection of blood in the wound site or scrotum.
- Hematomas are treated with anti-inflammatory medications and rest.
- Drainage is rarely required.
- Difficulty passing urine
- Continued pain
- Pain progressively decreases over time.
- Pain can be controlled with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
- Swelling of the testes or groin area
- Postoperative testicular swelling/pain may be due to manipulation of the veins near the testes during surgery.
- The swelling often appears 2–5 days after the operation and can last 6–12 weeks.
- Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medications.