The body is a highly organized structure with each organ, muscle, and tissue in an assigned area. Hernias occur when one of these structures will protrude beyond its normal area, pushing through a weak spot on the wall that contains it. Typically, hernias occur in the abdomen and pelvic area, but they can occur elsewhere as well. The most common types of hernia include:
Hernias are usually associated with pain, nausea and a bulge that can be felt beneath the skin. Symptoms can become worse when eating or when straining, such as during exercise or when having a bowel movement. In more severe cases, the herniated tissue can become squeezed or “strangulated,” causing a serious condition that can lead to tissue damage or tissue death (necrosis).
Treatment depends on the type of a hernia that’s present. Most hernias can be treated using minimally-invasive methods that rely on small incisions to access the damaged area and repair it. A special instrument called a laparoscope is used to view the surgical site via a tiny camera mounted on the end of the instrument. Images are sent back to a computer monitor for viewing. During surgery, the organ or other tissue is restored to its normal position and a special surgical mesh is used to strengthen the weak spot and prevent additional bulging in the area. Some types of hernia repair surgery require larger incisions to facilitate the repair. Once the surgery is complete, activity will be limited for about two weeks to avoid placing strain on the area so it can heal properly.
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