Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of our most Frequently Asked Questions about Hernias, symptoms and treatments.

If none of these seem to answer your question, or you have more questions please contact our office.

 

 

 

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Q. What is a hernia?

A hernia is an abnormal bulge in the abdominal wall or groin area through a weakness in the muscular wall. This bulge may contain fat or internal organs including the small and large intestine. Hernias are quite common and thousands are repaired each year across the country.

Q. Why do hernias form?

Hernias may be present from birth or many run in families. Hernias may also develop over the course of one’s life. As we age the abdominal wall becomes weaker and the pressure within our abdomen increases. This results in a bulge or hernia in the abdominal wall and especially the groin (inguinal hernia).

Q. How do I know if I have a hernia?

Your doctor will tell you if you truly have a hernia. Symptoms range from pain in the abdominal wall or groin to an obvious, protruding bulge. Not all patients with pain in the groin or abdominal wall actually have a hernia.

Q. How are hernias treated?

Generally, hernias are repaired with surgery to prevent complications such as injury to the bowel or internal organs. Some patients are not candidates for surgery if they have severe or complicated medical conditions.

Q. What are the different types of hernias?

Inguinal (or groin) hernias are the most common. They occur more frequently in men than women. These hernias are classified as direct or indirect and are located where the skin crease at the top of the thigh joins the torso.

Femoral hernias occur below the inguinal crease near the mid thigh. These are more common in women and often contain tissue that is not able to be reduced (pushed back in).

Umbilical hernias are often present from birth as a protruding belly button. These hernias occur at a naturally weak area of the abdominal wall and often require repair later in life or after pregnancy in women.

Incisional hernias occur following abdominal surgeries around 10% of the time. The damage to the abdominal wall weakens the muscle and allows for the formation of the hernia. These can often be complex and can occur multiple times. When these occur in the midline of the abdomen they are called ventral hernias.

Epigastric hernias occur between the rib cage and the umbilicus. These occur in areas of relative weakness and often contain fat.

Hiatal hernias occur within the abdomen at the area of the diaphragm. They occur when the opening of the diaphragm allows organs from within the abdomen to protrude up into the chest. These cause can cause a variety of symptoms including heartburn, difficulty swallowing and fatigue.
 

Q. What are the complications of hernia surgery

Hernia surgeries are not without risk. Potential complications include infection, nerve and blood vessel injury, chronic pain, injury to other organs and hernia recurrence. These are relatively infrequent occurrences, and, in general, the benefits of hernia repair outweigh the risks.

Q. When can I go back to work after hernia surgery

This depends on the size and complexity of your hernia. In general, patients undergoing groin hernia surgery are back to work in a week to ten days. However, every patient is unique and situations vary. For example, complex abdominal wall hernias that require extensive surgery may result in 4 to 6 weeks of recovery.

Q. Should my hernia be repaired?

In general, hernias that are painful or bothersome should be repaired. This avoids complications such as bowel strangulation and infection. Hernias in patients that are not having symptoms are generally repaired if the patient is active and has the potential for problems in the future. Each hernia and patient situation is unique and not all hernias are repaired. Your surgeon will discuss with you the best option and strategy as it pertains to your situation.
 

 
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