Hernia Surgery

Come to the Experts to Treat Your Hernia

 

Do not live with the risk of serious complications an untreated hernia may cause.  Whether your hernia was present at birth, or you developed it at any time during your life, it will not heal without a procedure to repair it. Choose the Hernia Surgery Center, which offers patients the expertise of highly experienced and skilled surgeons, nurse navigators, therapists and medical assistants. We surround our patients with compassionate and individualized care. Our patients are part of the decision-making process and are actively involved in the development of the best treatment plan for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any increase in pressure may cause a weakening of muscle or tissue resulting in a hernia. Some patients are born with a structural defect.

Yes. Family history, lifestyle choices, pregnancy and heavy lifting may contribute to an increased risk of developing a hernia.

If the weakening of muscle or tissue is not repaired, the intestine can become “stuck” within the defect leading to a life-threatening situation.

In most cases, the surgery does not require an over-night stay and patients can return to work within days.

 

Diseases and Conditions

At the Hernia Surgery Center at West Suburban, our experts have extensive experience in treating the following types of hernia. Our nurse navigator will guide you throughout the process. We invite you to come to us for second opinion for all hernia cases, from simple to very complex.

Femoral hernia also known as Femorocele occurs when a portion of tissue pushes through the wall of the femoral canal (the medial and smallest of the three compartments of the femoral sheath, which is located just below the inguinal ligament in the groin). A femoral hernia appears as a bulge near the groin or thigh.

Women are more likely than men to suffer from a femoral hernia. Most femoral hernias do not cause symptoms. However, they can occasionally lead to severe problems if the hernia obstructs and blocks blood flow to the intestines. This is called a strangulated hernia, which is a medical emergency and requires prompt surgery.

A hiatal hernia may occur when a small portion of the stomach pushes upward through the diaphragm (a muscle separating the lungs from the abdomen). Normally the entire stomach is located below the diaphragm. The esophagus passes through the hiatus (an opening in the diaphragm) before it enters the stomach. Weakened tissues of the hiatus and around the hiatus allow a hiatal hernia to develop.

Hiatal hernia usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, but it increases the risk of stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (reflux), which can lead to heartburn.

A hiatal hernia that is not causing symptoms does not usually need any treatment. Heartburn-causing hiatal hernias are usually treated in the same as for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The treatment may include lifestyle changes, non-prescription antacids, acid reducers, or acid blockers, prescription medicines, or, in severe cases, surgery.

A ventral hernia appears as a bulge of tissue through an opening in the abdominal wall muscles. It may occur at any location on the abdominal wall. A strangulated ventral hernia refers to intestinal tissue getting caught within a ventral hernia. This condition is a medical emergency.

An inguinal hernia is a condition in which intra-abdominal fat or part of the small intestine, also called the small bowel, bulges through a weak area in the lower abdominal muscles. An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin; the area between the abdomen and thigh. This type of hernia is called inguinal because fat or part of the intestine slides through a weak area at the inguinal ring, the opening to the inguinal canal. An inguinal hernia appears as a bulge on one or both sides of the groin. An inguinal hernia can occur any time from infancy to adulthood and is much more common in males than females. Inguinal hernias tend to become larger with time.

The two types of inguinal hernia have different causes.

  • Indirect inguinal hernia. Congenital hernias that are much more common in males because of the way they develop in the womb. Sometimes the entrance of the inguinal canal at the inguinal ring does not close as it should just after birth, leaving a weakness in the abdominal wall. In females, an indirect inguinal hernia is caused by the female organs or the small intestine sliding into the groin through a weakness in the abdominal wall. Indirect hernias are the most common type of inguinal hernia. Premature infants are especially at risk for indirect inguinal hernias because there is less time for the inguinal canal to close.
  • Direct inguinal hernia. Direct inguinal hernias are caused by connective tissue degeneration of the abdominal muscles, which causes weakening of the muscles during the adult years. Direct inguinal hernias occur only in males and develop gradually because of continuous stress on the muscles. Various factors can cause pressure on the abdominal muscles and may worsen the hernia, such as sudden twists, pulls, or muscle strains, lifting heavy objects, straining on the toilet because of constipation, weight gain and chronic coughing.

An incarcerated inguinal hernia is a hernia that becomes stuck in the groin or scrotum and cannot be massaged back into the abdomen. An incarcerated hernia is caused by swelling and can lead to a strangulated hernia, in which the blood supply to the incarcerated small intestine is jeopardized. A strangulated hernia is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. Left untreated, nausea, vomiting, and severe infection can occur. If surgery is not performed right away, the condition can become life threatening, and the affected intestine may die and need to be removed.

Symptoms

  • A small bulge in one or both sides of the groin that may increase in size and disappear when lying down; in males, it can present as a swollen or enlarged scrotum
  • Discomfort or sharp pain that goes away when resting, especially when straining, lifting, or exercising
  • A feeling of weakness or pressure in the groin
  • A burning, gurgling, or aching feeling at the bulge

 Strangulated hernia symptoms

  • extreme tenderness and redness in the area of the bulge
  • sudden pain that worsens in a short period of time
  • fever
  • rapid heart rate

Treatment

In adults, inguinal hernias that enlarge, cause symptoms, or become incarcerated are treated surgically. Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. Recovery time varies depending on the size of the hernia, the technique used, and the age and health of the patient. The two main types of surgery for hernias are traditional hernia repair and laparoscopy.

A ventral hernia appears as a bulge of tissue through an opening in the abdominal wall muscles. It may occur at any location on the abdominal wall. A strangulated ventral hernia refers to intestinal tissue getting caught within a ventral hernia. This condition is a medical emergency.

Treatments & Procedures

According to research, surgery is the only way to effectively repair a hernia and provide lasting relief of hernia-related symptoms. Hernias will not heal without surgery. Hernia repair surgery is a routine medical procedure, which is considered routine. Consider these facts:

  • Most hernia repairs are performed in an outpatient setting.
  • Most hernia repair surgeries use local anesthesia or epidural instead of general anesthesia.
  • Most hernia repairs can be done through one small incision.
  • Most hernia repairs are completed within 45 minutes.
  • There is no need for pain medication with most hernia repairs.

At West Suburban Medical Center, we offer the following approaches to hernia repair surgery:

Open Surgery 
The surgeon makes a small incision in the skin near the hernia bulge to allow the surgeon a direct view of the hernia.  After the hernia is repaired, the incision is closed with sutures.

Minimally Invasive or Laparoscopic Surgery 
During this type of surgery, the surgeon makes two to four small incisions in the abdomen and inserts surgical instruments and a camera into them.  Next, the abdomen is inflated to allow the surgeon has sufficient space to work inside the patient’s body. The surgeon views the surgical site on a television screen connected to the camera inside the body and uses specialized instruments to repair the hernia. Once the repair is complete, the gas used to inflate the patient’s abdomen is released and the abdomen returns to normal.

Complex Hernia Repair Surgery
This may involve removing a large abdominal panniculus (a dense layer of fatty tissue growth) or tummy tuck, in addition to repairing the abdominal muscles so that they function properly.

Tension-Free Hernia Repair
At West Suburban Medical Center, we offer patients a “tension-free” hernia repair by using special material called mesh. The mesh allows the surgeon to “patch” the gap in the tissue with few sutures instead of connecting tissue together with multiple sutures.  The patch may consist of polypropylene or biologic tissue.