A hernia is best explained as “a hole in the wall.” It occurs when there is a defect or “hole” in the strength layer of your abdominal wall, which is called the fascia. There are several different types of hernias and each must be treated accordingly.
Where do hernias typically occur?
A hernia most commonly occurs within the torso, between the chest and hips, often occurring in the groin or belly button. Sometimes, the underlying fat or an internal organ can protrude out through the “hole” and this results in a bulge. That bulge can be painful at times, especially with physical activity.
What are the different types of hernias?
- Inguinal hernia: This is a hernia that affects the inguinal canal—a passageway for spermatic cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles in men, and the round ligament that gives support for the womb in women. When a patient is suffering from an inguinal hernia, intestine or fatty tissue pokes into the groin near the top of the inner thigh. This type of hernia impacts men more often than women.
- Femoral hernia: Similar to the inguinal hernia, the femoral hernia often protrudes through the groin at the top of the inner thigh. However, these are much less common than inguinal hernias and often affect older women.
- Umbilical hernia: An umbilical hernia occurs when fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal wall near the belly button.
- Incisional hernia: After undergoing an abdominal or pelvic operation, it is possible for the tissue in this area to split open, allowing underlying tissue to push through the site of the scar, causing a hernia.
- Epigastric hernia: When there is a defect in the fascia allowing fatty tissue to push through the abdominal wall between your belly button and your sternum, it’s called an epigastric hernia.
- Spigelian hernia: This type of hernia occurs when there is a defect in the fascia on the sides of the abdomen and below the belly button.
How are hernias treated?
Hernias are repaired through surgery and are a commonly performed procedure by our board-certified general surgeons here at The Premier Surgical Network. There are two main types of hernia repair, open and laparoscopic.
Open hernia repair involves the surgeon creating an incision and identifying the hernia “sac,” which contains the bulging tissue. Then, the hernia is pushed back into the abdomen and the hernia defect of the abdominal wall is closed with stitches and/or synthetic mesh. Recovery is usually quick with this procedure; most patients return home a few hours after the surgery and may begin to feel better within a few days. However, the patient should not resume strenuous activity, exercise, or lifting for at least six weeks after the surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is one of the most minimally invasive ways to correct a hernia. The surgeon uses a laparoscope, which is a thin, telescope-like instrument that is inserted through a small incision in the patient’s abdominal wall or belly button (umbilicus). While this surgery is much less invasive than other options, it does require that the patient is under anesthesia. The patient does not feel any pain during this surgery and is left with very small scars. However, the patient should not resume strenuous activity, exercise, or lifting for at least six weeks after the surgery.
To set up an appointment or learn more about hernia repair surgery, call our office today: 844-973-0002
At the Premier Surgical Network, we are proud to offer both genetic testing and counseling services to our patients to support them throughout their breast health journey. Our team of surgeons are here to help you every step of the way when making informed decisions about your health.
What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing is done for individuals who have a genetic predisposition for developing breast cancer in the future, such as a family history. The BRCA gene test utilizes DNA analysis to identify changes in certain genes. These mutations can signal one of the two most common breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2; Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate raised public awareness regarding these genes. Both BRCA mutations are uncommon and make up only 5% to 10% of total breast cancer cases. One of the genetic panels that we use is made by INVITAE, which tests for 47 genes, not just BRCA1 and BRCA2. When patients have multiple gene mutations present, their risk for breast cancer increases significantly. If you test positive for a mutation, our team of specialists can better evaluate the potential benefits of surgery and other forms of preventive treatment.
To learn more about genetic testing and to see if you may be a candidate for genetic testing, click here.
What counseling services are offered?
Upon finding out results from genetic testing, a patient may experience many different emotions if they receive a positive BRCA test result. Feeling scared, overwhelmed or upset is completely normal and your surgeon will be able to discuss all your options with you. Additionally, finding that the BRCA testing result is negative can also bring on feelings of uncertainty, or a feeling of “survivors’ guilt” if their family members either tested positive for the gene, or have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Our surgeons know how extremely difficult these emotions can be to deal with, and are here not only as your doctor, but as someone you can talk to while navigating your choices.
A patient of Dr. Anjeanette Brown recently underwent prophylactic mastectomies and a hysterectomy after discovering that she tested positive for a BRCA 1 mutation. Upon this discovery, she opted to have bilateral nipple sparing mastectomies and a hysterectomy to decrease her risk of developing cancer.
Many patients elect to have prophylactic, or preventative procedures for a number of reasons, the first reason being testing positive for the BRCA gene after going over their family history with their healthcare provider. Other patients choose to remove their second breast if they’ve already had cancer in the other breast, as a preventative measure for future cancers. Only after referral to the genetic counselor with an in-depth analysis, do our surgeons perform surgery. They also work with fertility doctors if the given patient is at a reproductive age.
Prophylactic mastectomies reduce the risk of developing cancer by 90 to 95% for patients with the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 mutation, so it is a great choice for patients who test positive for the gene. It also helps them reduce their anxiety or fear of developing breast cancer, so it has many psychological benefits as well.
However, our surgeons understand the psychological and emotional impact that mastectomies, prophylactic or not, can have on a patient. It is a huge decision to make and comes bearing other decisions as well, such as whether or not to undergo breast reconstruction. Our team is here for each patient throughout their breast care journey.
To schedule a consultation, please contact or office at (844)-973-0002 or visit our website premiersurgicalnetwork.com