Hernia Repair: Get Back to Active Living

What is a hernia?

A hernia is “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.  A hernia most commonly occurs within the torso, between the chest and hips. Common sites are the groin and belly button.  Sometimes your 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. Choosing your surgeon to treat a potential hernia is an important step to getting you back to your day-to-day activities.

Some of the common types of hernias that we treat include:

  • 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’s possible for the tissue in this area to split open and allows underlying tissue to push through the site of the scar, causing a hernia.
  • Epigastric hernia: When there is a defect in the fascia that allows fatty tissue pushes 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.

Procedures offered

Open: Open hernia repair involves the surgeon creating an incision and identifying the hernia “sac,” which contains the bulging tissue. Next, 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, as most patients return home a few hours after the surgery and may begin to feel better within a few days. However, the patient shouldn’t resume strenuous activity, exercise, or lifting for at least six weeks after the surgery.

Laparoscopic: Laparoscopic surgery is one of the most minimally invasive hernia repairs available. 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. You will not feel any pain during this surgery, and you’re left with very small scars.  However, the patient shouldn’t resume strenuous activity, exercise, or lifting for at least six weeks after the surgery.


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