A hernia can range from uncomfortable to excruciating, and, unfortunately, a hernia cannot heal on its own. And while some small hernias may not require treatment, hernia surgery is the only way to fully alleviate this ailment.
If you have suffered or suspect that you are suffering from a hernia it is important to talk with a physician and look at all possible courses of action. Quite often, hernia surgery is the answer.
What is a hernia?
A hernia is what happens when an organ or fatty tissue bulges through a weak spot in surrounding muscle or connective tissue.
Common hernias include:
- Femoral – Occurs in the outer groin. Most common in women, especially pregnant or obese women, it happens when the intestine enters the canal and carries the femoral artery into the upper thigh.
- Hiatal – Occurs in the upper stomach. This happens when the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes.
- Incisional – Results from an incision. Most common in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery, this happens when the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of the prior abdominal surgery.
- Inguinal – Occurs in the inner groin. Most common in men, this happens when the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin. This is by far the most common groin hernia.
- Umbilical – Occurs in the belly button. Most common in newborns, this happens when part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall near the navel.
What are hernia symptoms?
You will be able to see a protruding bulge in your abdominal/groin area. This indicates that an organ or intestine is poking through the muscle wall. It may be quite painful and increase in pain and size. You may also experience a dull ache when lifting.
For instance, signs of an inguinal hernia (which accounts for 96 percent of all hernias in men) include:
- A bulge on either side of the pubic bone that becomes more obvious when standing, or when you cough or strain
- The bulge will burn or ache
- Pain or discomfort in the groin, especially when bending over, coughing or lifting
- Weakness or pressure in your groin
- Occasionally, pain and swelling around the testicles
What is included in hernia repair?
Hernia surgery is the most effective treatment of all hernias – and only way to truly rid yourself of this condition.
During consultation, our highly trained and experienced surgeons will determine whether your hernia requires an operation, and, if so, guide you through the process of selecting the appropriate type of surgery. Many procedures are performed as an outpatient surgery and require minimal recovery time.
While some smaller hernias do not require surgery, if you are experiencing any discomfort or pain then surgery most likely is required. During surgery, the hernia sac is removed, and a layer of synthetic mesh is used to strengthen the abdominal wall. This method prevents another hernia from forming.
Types of hernia surgery
Depending on your personal preference, along with your surgeon’s recommendation, there are three different types of hernia surgeries available: open, laparoscopic and robotic.
During laparoscopic hernia surgery, physicians make small incisions and use specialized tools to repair the hernia, while open surgery involves a larger incision in the abdomen. Although laparoscopic surgery is less invasive and often results in less pain and a faster recovery time, it is important that this surgery is done in the hands of an experienced laparoscopic surgeon.
Longstreet Clinic also offers da Vinci robotic laparoscopic hernia repair. This cutting-edge method typically provides a decrease in hernia recurrence and post-operation pain. It also eliminates post-op seroma, a frequent wound complication. Robotic surgery is a great option for complex, recurrent hernias and hernias in obese patients. Da Vinci surgical suites at Northeast Georgia Medical Center feature the area’s most advanced technology – including a state-of-the-art HD video system that provides superb visualization during laparoscopic hernia surgical procedures.
Our surgeons combine this cutting-edge technology with personalized care to provide each patient with the best experience possible.
Contact us today
If you have a hernia, do not wait to get it treated. Over time, most hernias do get larger. And while it may not be causing trouble now, it is very likely that an untreated hernia could lead to more serious complications.
One of those complications is strangulation. This occurs when the bulging tissue is squeezed by the muscle wall. As a result, the blood supply is cut off and the tissue begins to die. This development could lead to nausea, vomiting, fever, intensifying pain and a bulge that turns red or purple.
Longstreet Clinic’s experienced surgeons are here and ready help get you out of pain and back on the road to recovery. Contact 770-536-2323 for more information or to schedule a consultation.
Several Longstreet Clinic surgeons also are proud to be part of the Hernia Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Our Hernia Center surgeons perform more than 180 hernia repairs a year and are experts in diagnosing and treating all types of hernias, from the most common to the most complex. For more information on the Hernia Center, click here.