Put simply, a hernia is a sac that forms when part of an organ or tissue pushes through the fascia or thick layer of connective tissue under the skin. There are many different kinds of hernias including:
The names provide a clue to the location of the sac. For instance, a femoral hernia sits in the upper thigh just below the groin while an inguinal hernia is actually in the groin area. The most common type of a hernia is inguinal.
With this form of a hernia, part of the intestine slips through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, causing pain and discomfort. It can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. Dr. Podolsky will diagnose a hernia usually through a physical exam. A small hernia may not require repair, but she will schedule surgery if you’re in pain or a hernia is growing larger.
The preferred surgery for an inguinal hernia is minimally invasive and is done using a laparoscope. Dr. Podolsky inflates the stomach with gas and then inserts a tiny scope into the abdomen. A camera on the scope allows her to see inside the belly and to make repairs utilizing small instruments attached to the device. A similar procedure is done to correct most kinds of hernias.
This is a more invasive and aggressive type of surgical procedure that requires Dr. Podolsky to make a much larger incision in the groin. After pushing the protruding organ or tissue back into its proper place, she will sew the weakened area to provide additional support and then close the initial incision. With this procedure, it may be a few weeks before you can return to normal activities, though, which is why the laparoscopic surgery is preferred for most people.
There isn't always a clear cause of a hernia. In fact, some patients are born with defects in the fascia that lead to hernias later in life. Sometimes, a hernia is even present at birth. Potential risk factors include:
A specialist like Dr. Podolsky can examine you and assess your risk of a hernia.
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