Suffering from an abdominal hernia is no fun at all. You can feel pain or discomfort and experience localized swelling on the abdomen or groin.
There are several different types of hernia, but one thing they all have in common is that they can be repaired with the appropriate hernia surgery.
Let’s examine the medical ailment we know of as the hernia and the ways the condition can be corrected through the use of minimal invasive surgery. You will also learn about recovery times, which aren’t long at all for this very common surgical procedure.
“Hernia” is the word we give to a condition whereby tissue or an organ bulges or protrudes through the structure that usually keeps it in place. Hernias can happen all over the body, even the brain and spine. Abdominal hernias are common and involve the muscular structure of the wall of the abdomen.
What happens is that the abdominal wall forms an opening or weakness. The peritoneum, which is the abdominal cavity lining, can protrude through an opening, leading to a bulging of the abdominal wall. You can identify this type of hernia by clenching your abdominal muscles, whereby the bulge will protrude outward, becoming more noticeable.
If you don’t get a hernia fixed with surgery, the problem can worsen. In fact, there are a variety of daily activities that can exacerbate an abdominal hernia like lifting heavy objects, coughing, even straining to urinate.
When the abdominal lining protrudes, it can contain parts of some organs, such as the intestines and omentum, which is a layer of fat that covers the internal organs.
Those tissues can become trapped by the hernia, a condition known as incarceration. If the organs have their blood supply cut off, the organ could become damaged or outright die, leading to a critical emergency.
It’s said that around 10% of the population will experience an abdominal hernia in their lifetime. The medical issue can affect people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and can occur in both genders, but males seem to be more susceptible to the condition.
Most people experience a hernia of this type in their groin area. Doctors call it the inguinal area, where there is a natural anatomical weakness that often results in inadequate muscle coverage.
This area is also common for hernias because of the nature of our upright posture. Being upright forces the organs downward toward the bottom of the abdomen. This puts immense pressure on the weakened tissues, resulting in a hole or tear, which allows the hernia to poke through.
Several types of hernias can exist in the groin area, including indirect, direct, and femoral.
The type you suffer from is defined by the location of the opening of the hernia. Another type, the vernal hernia, occurs in the middle of the abdomen, typically above the belly button or navel. Hernias can also occur within the navel in a phenomenon aptly referred to as an umbilical hernia.
The first sign that you are experiencing an abdominal hernia is pain or discomfort. This is usually felt on the abdomen or groin area and can be accompanied by localized swelling. However, some hernia sufferers experience no pain at all and only have bulging. Others may feel intermittent pain and the swelling can come or go, depending on how much pressure is exerted on the abdomen.
Experiencing constant pain can be the sign of a serious medical emergency and may require an evaluation immediately by your doctor.
There is no amount of stretches or medicines that can repair an abdominal hernia. Surgery is the only option.
There are several types of procedures that can be used to fix a hernia. Most people are familiar with the open surgical approach, which involves anesthesia and an incision that is made over the hernia area. The surgeon can then separate the normal tissue and define the weakness. The weakness itself (hole or tear) can then be repaired using plastic mesh and sutures or by using sutures alone.
Using sutures alone can cause complications, as sometimes regular pressure on the abdomen to push through the sutures, causing them to fail.
This incision and sutures method of surgery can come with complications. This is why a separate procedure was invented that seeks to bridge the hole or weakness with a plastic mesh or screen.
Advances in surgery have now made the procedure minimally invasive. There is still an incision, but it’s incredibly tiny, only large enough to fit a laparoscopic camera.
That problem of the sutures failing from pressure began to affect so many patients, leading to what we call hernia revision surgery, that a new method was invented. This procedure uses mesh to repair the hernia but makes use of very tiny incisions. The surgeon uses those incisions to insert the laparoscopic camera, where he can direct and place the mesh with minimal damage to the surface of the abdomen.
Since the camera is so small, the surgeon can repair hernias in virtually any location around the abdomen and groin while simultaneously reducing the risk of recurrence.
You will be pleased to know that recovery times for laparoscopic surgery are minimal when compared to more “open” types of surgeries. With laparoscopic surgery, the tiny incisions are closed with a stitch or two, and some surgeons merely use surgical tape. There is minimal scarring. As a matter of fact, you may not even see any signs of the incisions after a few months.
At any rate, even if there is scarring, it’s only three tiny scars instead of one large scar as you would experience with open hernia surgery. There is less pain, and you can return to work in short order. That’s right, you will be back to your old self in days as opposed to weeks.
Dr. Moein at Healthy Life Bariatrics can help you live a hernia-free lifestyle. Whether you are experiencing pain, or you merely have a bulge, don’t delay. You wouldn’t want your condition to worsen, which can bring with it even greater medical issues in the future.
By taking care of your hernia early with hernia repair surgery, you can get back on the road to wellness. Dr. Moein is one of few surgeons who is dually trained in bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery, and he can help you achieve your desired results.
Call now to discuss a hernia diagnosis and hernia surgical repair with Los Angeles’s own, Dr. Moein.