About Hernias

HerniaYou want to return to health as soon as possible, and we want that for you.

We understand that being diagnosed with a hernia can be scary and stressful. You probably have a lot of questions and some anxiety. Our goal is to arm you with information, provide you with the best experience possible, and give you optimal results.

The guide below is designed to help you understand hernias, their related surgeries, and expectations. Of course, your surgeon will provide more detail regarding your specific situation.

What is a HERNIA?
A hernia occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal wall have weakened, resulting in a bulge or tear. In the same way that an inner tube pushes through a damaged tire, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area of the abdominal wall to form a small balloon-like sac.

  • The weakness may be present at birth, can be caused by wear and tear of daily living, or by surgeries.
  • A hernia does not get better over time, nor will it go away by itself.

What causes a hernia?
The wall of the abdomen has natural areas of potential weakness. Hernias can develop at these areas.

  • Anyone can develop a hernia at any age.
  • Surgeries that require cutting through the abdominal wall can also create weaknesses and hernias.

How do I know if I have a hernia?
The common areas where hernias occur are in the groin (inguinal), belly button (umbilical), and the site of a previous operation (incisional).

  • You may notice a bulge under the skin.
  • You may feel pain when you cough, lift heavy objects, strain during bowel movements or urination, or during prolonged standing or sitting.
  • Some hernias do not cause pain or a bulge, and may be discovered during CT or MRI, or during routine physical exam.

Do I need to have my hernia fixed?
You should always have a hernia evaluated by a doctor. The doctor will help you determine if surgery is necessary and if surgery is safe in your situation.

  • If your hernia is enlarging rapidly, causing pain or intestinal blockage, or limiting normal activities, surgery is the likely option.
  • Hernias that aren’t causing pain, intestinal blockage and aren’t enlarging can sometimes be observed. Consult your doctor.

How are hernias fixed?
A hernia repair usually involves 2 steps:

  1. Closing the hole or weakened area, and
  2. Applying mesh to reinforce the repair

Repairs can be accomplished with open, laparoscopic, robotic or a combination of techniques. Each technique has its pros and cons. Usually repairs using small incisions, such as laparoscopic or robotic, lead to faster recovery and less complications. Larger or recurrent hernias can be very complex and require a hernia specialist to obtain the best results. The hernia specialist will have more knowledge, tools, techniques and skills to tailor the best operation to your situation.