What is a hernia?
A hernia is a hole or defect in the abdominal wall muscle and fascia that allows structures such as fat or intestines to push through to the area just under the skin. The most common locations are the belly button and the groin but these can happen essentially anywhere in the abdominal wall. Most commonly a hernia just contains fatty tissue pushing through the hernia defect but sometimes the small or large intestines can herniate. If bowel gets stuck in a hernia, emergency abdominal hernia surgery may be necessary. Some patients refer to hernia surgery as "removing the hernia". This isn't quite correct since the abdominal hernia surgery isn't usually removing anything - it is closing a defect or hole in the abdominal wall.
How can I tell if I have a hernia?
The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge. Most of the time the bulge can be pushed back in the abdomen and will pop back out on it's own or with coughing or straining. However some hernias are incarcerated and can not be pushed back in (also called reducing the hernia). For bigger patients, a hernia may not be detectable by physical exam and imaging such as a CT scan may be needed to find the hernia. Most hernias cause pain but some do not.
How does abdominal hernia repair surgery work?
Hernias can be repaired by an open approach or laparoscopic or robotic approach. Mesh is usually used for hernia repairs because the risk of a hernia coming back is much lower when mesh is used. The amount of post operative pain is often much lower when mesh is used as well - especially with inguinal hernias. Primarily due to the many commercials put out by lawyers, many patients are very concerned to have a hernia mesh surgery. These lawsuits involve mesh that was recalled years ago and the mesh that hernia Doctor Harris uses has been studied extensively and found to be safe - he would not hesitate to have it used on himself or a family member if needed. Contact us to learn more about hernia mesh surgery.
How long is a hernia repair surgery recovery?
This is very dependent on the size and type of hernia as well as the patient's pain tolerance. Some patients go back to work in just a few days and others need a week or two off depending on the type of work they do. Heavy lifting should generally be avoided for a minimum of two weeks.
Is hernia repair surgery considered major surgery?
Most of the time it is not major surgery and patients go home the same day. However, there are exceptions such as when the intestines get strangulated in a hernia and loose their blood supply which may require emergency surgery and resection of the affected bowel. Also, some hernias become so large that the muscle and fascia is difficult to pull back together and more extensive surgery may be required to complete the repair.
Can a hernia come back?
Yes but this is very rare for hernia Doctor Harris' patients. Using mesh will reduce your risk of hernia recurrence. For patients who are overweight or gain substantial weight after surgery, the risk of hernia recurrence is higher.
Can I walk after hernia repair surgery?
Yes and walking is encouraged. If you had a groin hernia repaired, you may have some soreness with moving your leg during recovery but it should not keep you from walking.
What are the types of hernias?
- Inguinal and femoral hernias occur in the groin - inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia and are much more common in men than women. These require groin hernia surgery.
- An umbilical hernia is a hernia at the belly button that requires hernia umbilical surgery or some call belly button hernia surgery..
- Spigelian hernias occur on the side of the abdomen but above the groin.
- Epigastric hernia are located several inches above the belly button.
- Incisional hernias occur at the site of a prior surgery.
Contact us today
If you are looking for a general surgeon near Birmingham, AL, Dr. Adam Harris, MD, might be the right choice. He is an experienced board-certified and Mayo Clinic Trained providing quality care to patients.
Dr. Adam Harris is a specialist in hernia repair surgery. Schedule an appointment today at (205) 995-9700.