What Is a Hernia?

Hernia Treatment in Palm Beach County

A hernia is a condition in which an organ, usually part of the intestine, protrudes (or pushes) through a weak area of the abdominal wall. You may see a bulge under your skin, indicating you have a hernia. Common types of hernias include incisional hernias, inguinal hernias, hiatal hernias, ventricle, and umbilical hernias. In the past, these surgeries required sizable incisions, extensive healing time, and were at a higher risk of recurrence. Through medical advancements, however, they can often be performed laparoscopically. Because laparoscopic procedures entail relatively small incisions, patients have smaller scars and heal more quickly than with open surgery—allowing a quicker return to daily activities. Depending on the patient's presentation, our physicians can perform minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery for hernias.

Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia presents itself in the groin area. This hernia occurs in the inguinal canal (the passageway between the abdomen and the reproductive organs) when the abdominal wall becomes compromised or weak. This can happen at birth or may be due to chronic coughing or constipation, pregnancy, exercise, and some medical conditions.

Some people may experience pain and/or a heavy sensation in the groin area if they have this type of hernia, while others experience no pain. Often, the section of intestine that is protruding through the abdominal wall creates a visible bulge or bump. This bulge may become more obvious when you bend over, cough, or strain.

An inguinal hernia can become dangerous if the protruding tissues become trapped in the opening of the abdominal wall, cutting off blood flow. This is considered a medical emergency, and if it occurs, you should seek treatment immediately.

Surgery to treat a hernia can be done via a laparoscope. Essentially, the surgeon repositions the protruding organ back into the abdominal cavity and repairs the hole in the abdominal wall. Laparoscopic surgery eliminates the need for the long incision associated with traditional hernia surgery.

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when there is an enlarged or weakened section of the hiatus, which is the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes. The stomach may protrude into the chest cavity through the weakened hiatal opening.

Signs and Symptoms of Incisional Hernias

An incisional hernia occurs in a weakened area of the abdominal wall, somewhere between the breastbone and the groin, at or near the incision site of a previous surgery. A typical surgical incision is closed with sutures, which can place tension on the tissue. Said tension can cause weakening of the scarred muscle tissue. Any condition or activity that causes increased pressure on the abdominal area, such as heavy lifting, can also weaken the site of incision. When this happens, or if the area does not heal completely, the area is left at risk of tearing or bulging. An incisional hernia occurs when the wall tears or bulges, and the underlying intestines or bowel protrude. This type of hernia can be treated with minimally-invasive surgery. If the hernia becomes trapped, it may cut off blood flow to healthy tissues. This is a medical emergency, and if it occurs, you should seek treatment immediately.

The most common sign of a incisional hernia is a bulge protruding from the abdominal area. These hernias are usually painless, but may cause considerable discomfort, especially when the area is strained due to coughing, lifting, or jumping. The hernia may retreat further into the abdominal wall if a person is lying down and may be more noticeable when he or she is standing. Sometimes, the protruding intestines or bowel can be gently repositioned into the appropriate place. In other cases, the hernia cannot be pushed back, indicating the protrusion is trapped. This condition is called an incarcerated hernia and may result in nausea, vomiting, and difficulty having bowel movements. A patient experiencing an incarcerated hernia may also feel sharp, intense pains.

Laparoscopic (Minimally-Invasive Surgery) Hernia Surgery

Surgery is necessary to repair a hernia. Though traditional hernia surgery may be necessary in some cases, at Advanced Surgical Physicians, we routinely offer laparoscopic hernia surgery. Laparoscopic hernia surgery is a minimally-invasive technique that can minimize the chance of postoperative complications, while decreasing healing time and post-operative pain.

During laparoscopic hernia surgery, a thin scope with a tiny camera (the laparoscope) is inserted into the abdominal cavity through a small incision in the abdomen or groin area. This allows the surgeon to use specially-designed surgical instruments to reposition the protruding organs back into their original position and location. In some cases, the torn abdominal wall or other area is repaired by attaching a synthetic mesh material to the weak muscle tissue, preventing a hernia from occurring again at or near that area.

Gallbladder Removal

The gallbladder is located under the liver and is used to store bile the liver produces to aid in the digestion of fat. When the flow of bile from the gallbladder becomes obstructed, gallbladder disease may develop. The symptoms of gallbladder disease may include abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and other symptoms. During a minimally-invasive gallbladder surgery, a thin tube attached to a tiny scope or camera is inserted into an incision. The laparoscope allows a clear view of the internal organs. Special tools are then inserted through the other incisions and used to remove the gallbladder.

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