According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 5 million Americans suffer from a hernia.
What is a hernia?
A hernia is a condition that occurs when a part of your internal organ or tissue bulges or protrudes through a weak area of a muscle. Although hernias can happen in any part of the body, the most common site is the abdominal area.
There are different kinds of hernia. This includes:
• Inguinal hernia
An inguinal hernia is the bulging of the abdominal contents through a weak spot in the lower abdominal area. More prevalent in men, this type can occur in either one of the two passages of the abdominal wall (one on each groin), although it usually develops on the right side.
When left untreated, the contents that bulge can get stuck outside the abdominal wall and gets strangulated. When this happens, the blood flow to the hernia is cut off. This can lead to the death of the strangulated part.
• Femoral hernia
A femoral hernia can happen when the bulge occurs in the upper part of the thigh near the groin.
Unlike the inguinal hernia, this type is more commonly seen in women than in men. It usually affects those who are obese or pregnant.
• Incisional or ventral hernia
This type pertains to the protrusion or bulging of the sac/pouch from the inner lining of the abdomen through a weak spot in the abdominal area. This usually occurs at the site of an old surgical incision.
• Umbilical hernia
When the bulging or protrusion of the abdominal contents/organs happens around the belly button, you have what we call the umbilical hernia. This is common in infants and occurs when the muscle through which the umbilical cord passes does not close completely after birth.
• Hiatal hernia
This type of hernia refers to the protrusion of the upper part of the stomach through an opening in your diaphragm. Since your diaphragm keeps your stomach acid from getting into your esophagus, having a hiatal hernia may cause heartburn.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of a hernia vary, depending on the type you have. Some even don’t cause any symptoms and are only discovered during a medical exam. However, most types of hernias share some similar symptoms, such as:
• An obvious bulge under the skin in the groin or abdominal area
• A burning or aching sensation on the bulge
• Discomfort on the site of the protrusion especially when coughing, bending over, or lifting
• Groin weakness or pressure
How are hernias treated?
Surgery is usually recommended if the hernia is growing and/or causing pain.
If the hernia is a small one, this can be repaired using a mesh material to reinforce and support the weakened spot. It can be done either through an open or laparoscopic technique. Premier Surgical physicians often perform simple hernia repair at the Premier Surgery Center in Knoxville.
For a very large hernia or in cases of multiple failed hernia repairs, more advanced complex hernia repair techniques are required to treat the condition. Complex hernia surgeries are performed in a hospital setting.
Dr. Michael Antiporda, Dr. Kristopher Williams, and Dr. David Schutter are board certified general surgeons with Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville, TN, who handle hernia repair ranging from simple to complex. They will access your hernia and recommend the most suitable treatment option for a lasting repair.
To request with a Premier Surgical hernia surgeon, fill out our HERNIA CENTER APPOINTMENT REQUEST.