Hernia may be defined as the protrusion of an organ into an adjacent connective tissue or muscle. The protrusion usually occurs through a tear or a weakened area in the muscle (Fascia). The hernia may be Inguinal Hernia, Umbilical Hernia, Hiatal Hernia or Femoral Hernia. The hernia can also originate from an incision (Incisional Hernia). The Inguinal Hernia is commonly observed in males. Here, the intestine squeezes through a tear in the abdominal wall into the groin (inguinal canal). At times, the small intestine bulges through the abdominal wall (weak spot) near the bellybutton. This results in Umbilical Hernia. In Hiatal Hernia, the upper part of the stomach passes into the chest through the diaphragm. Of all the hernia types, the Inguinal Hernia is the most common.
Severe strain and muscle tear or weakness can result in hernia. Obesity, chronic constipation, chronic coughing and sneezing, ageing, damage caused by injury, medical conditions like Cystic Fibrosis, contribute to increased incidences of hernia. In case of hernia, the affected area tends to protrude or bulge out. If left untreated; hernia can prove to be detrimental. One needs to consult a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. Physical examination can help in the diagnosis of Inguinal Hernia. An ultrasound is needed to diagnose Umbilical Hernia. A Barium X -ray or endoscopy can be of great help in the diagnosis of Hiatal Hernia.
The severity of the hernia depends upon its size. In case the hernia is rapidly increasing in size, a surgery is needed for the repair. The surgery performed can be Open or Laparoscopic. In open surgery, hernia is identified through an incision. Once located, the hernia is removed from the adjacent tissues. In Laparoscopic Repair, small incisions are made in the affected region. Through these incisions, specialized instruments are inserted. It is through these instruments that the surgeon visualizes and performs the surgery. In such repair, a mesh, held in place by sutures is used as a scaffold. This facilitates the growth of new tissues in the affected person. This technique significantly lowers the chances of a recurrence.
Certain factors needs to be well addressed before performing hernia operation
- Hernia operations, Laparoscopic in particular, should be performed by experienced surgeons. Inexperienced surgeons will do you more harm than good.
- Laparoscopic hernia operation should be avoided in case a patient has adhesions from previous surgery.
- Extreme care should be taken while performing a hernia operation in infants and children.
- In some cases, hernia surgery might affect or injure the vas deferens in men. This in turn can affect fertility in men.