Hernia Care at Rolling Hills Medical: An Overview
If you are seeing an odd bulge in some part of your abdomen, you may be looking at a common health problem known as a hernia. While not all hernia cases call for surgical repair, the condition may cause discomfort or even, in certain situations, pose an urgent medical danger. The good news is that hernias can be treated with a high degree of success. Let's examine this troublesome condition, from its causes and symptoms to treatment options and recovery expectations.
What Is a Hernia?
The term "hernia" describes the bulging of an organ or tissue through another tissue that normally encompasses it and holds it in place. This condition usually involves the structures of the upper or lower abdomen, including the groin. Some of the various types of hernias include:
- Inguinal hernia - Inguinal hernias develop in the inguinal canal of the groin. While ths condition most commonly affects men, it can also occur in women.
- Femoral hernia - This type of hernia is more common in women than in men. The characteristic bulge may be seen or felt further down the groin than an inguinal hernia, near the thigh.
- Hiatal hernia - A hiatal hernia causes the top of the stomach to protrude through the hiatus, a small hole in the diaphragm that surrounds the base of the esophagus.
- Umbilical hernia - This type of hernia causes the navel to bulge outward.
Hernia Causes and Symptoms
Some hernias are present from birth, while others develop over time due to muscle weakness, excessive strain, surgical complications, or underlying health conditions. Inguinal, femoral, and umbilical hernias are all known to be caused by strain. Obesity, pregnancy, and age-related muscle weakness can all contribute to the creation of a hernia. Hernias can also occur due to weakness in tissues that have been operated on. This post-surgical issue is known as an incisional hernia.
Hernia symptoms can vary widely depending on the type, location, and severity of the problem. Most commonly, you may see or feel an obvious bulge in your abdomen or groin. This bulge may or may not be accompanied by pain, especially when you exert the muscles in that area. You might also get the feeling that your bowels are either full or blocked. The tissues in a hernia bulge can often be pushed back into place. A hiatal hernia won't show a bulge, but it may cause reflux, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and other digestive distress.
While most hernias are more annoying than dangerous, occasionally a hernia may become incarcerated, with the tissue becoming stuck in the weak area so it cannot recede. If the blood flow is cut off, the hernia is said to be strangulated. This is an emergency condition that may cause fever, vomiting, nausea, intense pain, and discoloration at the hernia site.
Hernia Repair and Other Hernia Treatment Options
Mild hernia symptoms may not require treatment beyond watching and waiting, the wearing of supportive devices, and lifestyle adjustments to minimize strain. In some cases of hiatal hernia, physical manipulation can pull the stomach down and out of the hiatus. But if a hernia develops into a significant or urgent concern, we may recommend surgical intervention. Hernia surgery consists of two main approaches:
- Open hernia repair - In this traditional form of hernia surgery, we make standard incision into the affected area so we can push the herniated tissues back into place. We may add surgical mesh to strengthen the weak spot.
- Laparoscopic hernia repair - In this minimally-invasive form of hernia surgery, tiny incisions allow us to correct the hernia using elongated surgical instruments, viewing our work through a video feed.
What to Expect Following Hernia Surgery
What you can expect during recovery from hernia surgery depends in part of what kind of procedure you've had. An open surgery generally requires a brief hospital stay as well as a two-week followup appointment. You'll need to avoid lifting anything that puts more than 15 pounds of strain on your body. Laparscopic surgery patients can usually go home the same day as the procedure. Be aware, however, that this form of hernia surgery may make you more prone to complications or a recurrence of your hernia. Complications from hernia surgery may include chronic pain and infection.
Rolling Hills Medical can provide you with the diagnosis, information, hernia treatment and post-treatment care you need to get your condition firmly under control. Call our Torrance CA clinic today at (424) 267-2487 to schedule an initial consultation.
George Tashjian, M.D., MIST
Dr. Tashjian is a Laparoscopic trained General Surgeon who’s had extensive training in the field of Laparoscopic Hernia Repairs. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor of Science degree having spent the majority of his time in the Biomedical Sciences program. He then went on to further his premedical education at UCLA and finally attended St. George’s University School of Medicine, a renowned international academic powerhouse, to complete his M.D. degree.
Dr. Tashjian knew early on that Surgery was the destined route and thus began his training at New York Medical College affiliated New Rochelle Hospital in New York. Based on his skill level, he was invited to continue his training at the University of Southern California. Dr. Tashjian was then accepted to train at the prestigious Stanford University where Laparoscopy and Bariatrics were his primary focus.
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