A hernia is a condition where an organ or fatty tissue pokes through a weak spot in a muscle or connective tissue. There are 5 types of hernias: inguinal, incisional, femoral, umbilical, and hiatal.
Inguinal (Inner Groin)
The large majority of hernias in the groin are inguinal. An inguinal hernia occurs when your intestine or bladder squeezes through your abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal located in the groin. Inguinal hernias occur mostly in men due to a natural weakness in this area of the male body.
Incisional hernias can happen to people who have had surgery. Occurring mostly in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery, this kind of hernia occurs when the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall where a previous surgical incision was made.
Femoral hernias are most common in women, especially pregnant or obese women. Femoral hernias occur when the intestine pushes into the canal that carries the femoral artery into the upper thigh.
Umbilical hernias are common in newborns and in obese women who have had many children. This type of hernia involves a part of the small intestine passing through the abdominal wall near the navel.
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes.
All hernias result from a combination of pressure and an opening or weak spot in muscle or connective tissue. Some people are born with weak spots in their muscle or connective tissue, but more often than not, weak spots develop later in life. When pressure pushes an organ or tissue through a weak spot, you get a hernia.
Anything that increases pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia. Lifting heavy objects incorrectly, diarrhea, constipation, and persistent coughing or sneezing can all create excessive pressure leading to a hernia. Contributing factors are obesity, poor nutrition, and smoking, which can weaken muscles and increase the chances of getting a hernia.
In some cases, the swell of a hernia can be felt when you place your hand on it and press down firmly. For this reason, a physical exam by a doctor is often times all you need to diagnose a hernia. In some case, an ultrasound or x-ray may be ordered to determine the exact nature of the hernia.
For cases of umbilical hernias in babies, it is usually advised to just wait. Umbilical hernias may heal themselves within four years, making surgery unnecessary.
For all other types of hernias, a surgical procedure called herniorrhaphy restores the herniated tissue to its proper place.
While it is possible to live with a hernia, doing so can be dangerous. The protruding organ can become strangulated with its blood supply cut off, resulting in possible infection and tissue death. In cases of intestinal hernias, strangulation of the tissue can lead to intestinal obstruction, gangrene, intestinal perforation, shock, or even death.
Herniorrhaphy begins with either local or general anesthesia. The surgeon then repositions the herniated tissue and, if there is any strangulated tissue, removes the oxygen-starved part of the organ. The surgeon will then use synthetic mesh or tissue to repair the weak spot in the muscle or connective tissue.
It is becoming increasingly common for surgeons to perform herniorrhaphy using a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a slender instrument that is inserted into the body through small incisions. Since laparoscopic surgery requires smaller incisions than traditional open surgery, laparoscopic surgery allows for faster recovery and less pain.
Preventative measures are very important after herniorrhaphy to make sure the hernia does not reoccur.
If you have or suspect that you may have a hernia, contact us at 888-8-AVALON for a consultation. Our award winning doctors and state-of-the-art facilities at Avalon Surgery Center in Glendale, CA are available to provide you with the utmost respect and highest level of personalized care. Our physicians have offices all across the Greater Los Angeles Area, within your insurance network. Contact us for more info at 888-8-AVALON.
At Avalon, you can concentrate on getting ready for surgery and recovery and let us handle the rest. Our staff can help your patients at each stage of your surgery journey and give you the best chance to achieve positive surgical outcomes. Partnering with Avalon Surgery Center gives you the best chance for surgical success by putting patients first.
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