Hernias are a common problem that for some is harmless and pain-free, but for others, causes significant discomfort. Treatment for hernias range from watchful waiting to surgical repair.
For many, if surgery is needed, it can be done laparoscopically, meaning that the procedure is done through very small incisions (3-5 millimeters) and allows for an easier and significantly shorter recovery than ever before.
The surgeons at Sentara Martha Jefferson are skilled at treating all types of hernia, including inguinal, ventral, incisional and hiatal hernias. They will work with you to determine the best type of surgery for your individual situation, and help you get back to the activities you enjoy as quickly as possible.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a full thickness defect (i.e. hole) of the abdominal wall. These “holes” can occur in the groin (inguinal canal), the anterior abdominal wall (umbilical, ventral), or through a previous incision (incisional). Hernias occur in all ages and in both men and women, although their frequency is undoubtedly higher in middle-aged men.
Many hernias are just congenital weak areas of the body that tend to get stressed with any sort of intensive physical activity such as heavy lifting or childbirth.
The most common sign of a hernia is a bulge somewhere in the abdominal wall or in the groin. Those bulges are often associated with pain, discomfort and sometimes they can be associated with changes to the skin or even nausea and vomiting.
Surgical Hernia Repair
Hernias are repaired with one of two surgical approaches: open or laparoscopic.
In an open surgery, an incision is made over the hernia, and the surgeon sews prosthetic mesh to the abdominal wall.
A hernia may also be repaired using a minimally invasive, laparoscopic approach. In laparoscopic surgery, surgeons utilize three to four small (3-5 millimeters) incisions to repair the hernia using the same mesh used in an open surgery.