Hernia Surgery

A hernia occurs when one part of the body protrudes through a gap or opening into another part of the body.

Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the opening in the diaphragm. Large hiatal hernias can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain. Surgical repair of a hiatal hernia can involve several different procedures, such as reducing the size of the opening in the diaphragm, reconstructing the valve that keeps food from returning up into the esophagus, or removing the part of the stomach that is protruding into the diaphragm. Hiatal hernia surgeries can be done with a single incision in the chest wall or abdomen, or with several small incisions in the abdomen (laparoscopic surgery). Laparoscopic surgery uses small instruments and a camera on the end of a tube to allow the surgeon to see the internal area of focus.

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles around the area of the belly button. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but they can also occur in adults. Surgical repair of an umbilical hernia involves making a small incision at the base of the belly button. The protruding intestine is gently pushed back into the abdominal cavity, and the opening in the abdominal wall is repaired with sutures or mesh.

Ventral/Incisional Hernia

A ventral hernia occurs when the thin inner lining of the abdomen protrudes through a weakened part or tear in the thin wall that holds the abdominal organs in place. The bowel or intestines can also protrude through this opening. A hernia which occurs at the site of an old surgical scar is called an incisional hernia. If circulation to the protruding loop of intestine or bowel is cut off, immediate medical attention is necessary. Traditional surgeries to repair ventral hernias are done with a single incision in the abdominal wall. The surgeon then pushes the protruding tissue back into place and sews the abdominal tear or weakness back together. During laparoscopic ventral hernia repair the surgeon uses several small incisions and a tube with a small camera on the end (laparoscope). Special mesh or a screen is placed under the hernia to strengthen the abdominal wall and is secured into place with sutures or staples.

Inguinal (Groin) Hernia

An inguinal hernia occurs when abdominal tissue or intestine protrudes through a weak point or tear in the lower abdominal wall in the region of the groin. The tissue pushes through the inguinal canal, an opening in the front of the lower abdomen (in men, this canal has the spermatic cord running through it). There are two general types of surgeries to repair inguinal hernias. During a herniorrhaphy, the surgeon makes a groin incision and pushes the protruding tissue back into the abdomen. The weakened or torn abdominal muscle is repaired by sewing it together. During a hernioplasty, the surgeon inserts a piece of synthetic mesh to cover the entire inguinal area. The patch is then secured in place with stitches, clips or staples. Hernioplasties can be done with a single long incision or laparoscopically.

Laparoscopic, Minimally Invasive Inguinal Hernia Repair

A hernioplasty is a hernia surgery that involves using mesh to cover the entire inguinal area. The mesh is then secured into place with sutures, clips or staples. Hernioplasties can be done laparoscopically, using three small incisions and a tube with a tiny camera on the end (a laparoscope). The laparoscope allows the surgeon to visualize and manipulate small instruments during the surgery. Using laparoscopic surgery to repair an inguinal hernia offers several advantages. There is less discomfort and scarring after surgery, and shorter recovery time. This procedure is ideal for a repeat hernia surgery (if the hernia recurs) or for people with inguinal hernias on both sides of the body. Patients can often return to full duties, including lifting, within two weeks. This offers a great advantage over older anterior or open approaches.


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