Hernia Repair at Stephens County Hospital
What is a Hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ protrudes through a structure or muscle that should contain it. Normally hernias occur in the abdominal wall when a bit of the intestinal tract pushes through a weak spot. Hernias are quite common, with more than 1 million hernia repairs performed in the United States annually. They are usually straightforward operations for the surgeon, with a short period of recovery time for patients in most cases.
Types of Hernias
Almost all hernias occur in the abdominal wall and are grouped into three categories: inguinal, femoral, and ventral.
- Ventral hernias describe a protrusion of intra-abdominal contents (such as the intestine or omentum) through the abdominal muscles. They may be umbilical (occurring at the belly button area), incisional (occurring at the site of previous surgery), or epigastric (occurring above the belly button).
- Femoral hernias occur in the upper thigh or groin when fatty tissue or intestine pushes through the abdominal wall into an area known as the femoral canal. Femoral hernias occur most often in women, but they are relatively rare.
- Inguinal hernias appear in the groin when fatty tissue or your bowels protrude through the abdominal wall into the inguinal canal. This is by far the most common type of hernia, and men are 8-10 times more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than women. Most patients are 75-80 years of age.
Hiatal hernias are the exception to the rule: they occur in the diaphragm when the stomach protrudes through a small opening called the hiatus. Hiatal hernias cause symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux and are less common.
What to Expect from a Hernia Repair Surgery
While symptoms associated with hiatal hernias can sometimes be treated with medication – and they aren’t always surgically repaired, most other hernias will require surgery eventually to repair the gap. The urgency of your surgery will depend on the type and severity of the hernia, as well as the seriousness of your symptoms. Remember that delaying surgical repair often results in a more extensive operation and can significantly increase your recovery time. In general, hernia defects grow over time. They never get smaller.
Hernia repair surgery is completed using one of two methods: open surgery, or laparoscopic surgery. Either type may be recommended depending on the specifics of your case, but laparoscopic hernia repair surgery is the most common.
An open hernia repair surgery occurs when the surgeon makes an incision on the abdomen or in the groin, granting access to repair the hernia and surrounding structures. After the repairs are completed, the surgeon uses stitches alone or in conjunction with a piece of surgical mesh to close and strengthen the abdominal wall. The use of mesh generally reduces the risk of recurrence for hernias.
A laparoscopic hernia repair surgery is performed by creating several small incisions in the abdomen, then a tiny camera is inserted. The surgeon will view the operation on a video screen, and use specialized tools to access the hernia and complete the repair. A piece of surgical mesh is often used to strengthen the abdominal wall as part of the operation.
Choose Stephens County Hospital for your hernia repair surgery – our general surgery team is experienced and will deliver excellent results for your hernia repair surgery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or arrange a referral from your doctor.