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Hernia Surgery

Hernia Surgery in Anchorage, Alaska

Diagnosis

To diagnose a hernia, especially an inguinal hernia, your doctor will perform a physical exam to check for any bulges around the groin or abdominal area. A hernia bulge can typically be felt while coughing, standing, or straining. The doctor will inquire about your symptoms and may ask you a few questions to evaluate your medical history. If they are unable to diagnose the hernia via a physical examination, you will be asked to undergo an imaging test, such as an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI.

Ultrasound tests are recommended for women to rule out causes of pain such as fibroids or ovarian cysts. In men, ultrasound tests can be used to assess scrotal or inguinal hernias.

A CT scan uses cross-sectional X-ray images that are more detailed than regular X-ray images. The doctor will examine X-ray images of your abdomen and other organs to rule out any other conditions associated with abdominal pain and inflammation.

If the pain worsens when you exercise, you may be asked to undergo an MRI to detect any tear in the muscles surrounding the abdomen.

Symptoms

The symptoms will vary depending on the type of hernia. External hernias are the most common type of hernia. These include inguinal hernia, femoral hernia, umbilical hernia, and incisional hernia. Some common symptoms of an external hernia are:

  • A prominent bulge in the abdomen or groin
  • Pain while coughing or lifting heavy objects
  • A bulge that increases in size over time
  • A bulge that disappears when you’re lying down
  • Discomfort or pain around the site of the bulge
  • Feeling pressure in the groin

Symptoms of internal hernias, such as hiatal hernia, include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A bloated feeling or pain in the stomach

Treatment

If the size of your hernia is growing or causing discomfort, your surgeon may recommend repairing it surgically to prevent further complications. Our team of experts at Far North Surgery is highly experienced in the latest hernia treatment techniques, including laparoscopic, robotic, and open procedures.

Laparoscopy surgery – This is a minimally invasive procedure wherein the surgeon makes only a few small incisions to insert a laparoscope and surgical equipment to repair the hernia. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and patients can return home within a few hours post-surgery.

Open surgery – For open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision near the site of the bulge and pushes the bulge back into place. The bulge is separated from the surrounding tissue and gently pushed back into the abdomen. The surrounding abdomen wall is then strengthened with the help of surgical mesh, and the incision is sutured with stitches.

Robotic repair – The latest and most advanced treatment technique is robotic repair, in which the surgeon uses a surgical robot to treat and repair the hernia.

FAQs

How do I know if I need hernia surgery?

Hernia is a very common condition. In some cases, the hernia may be small and may not be causing any pain or discomfort. In such cases, immediate surgery may not be needed. However, hernias do not go away on their own, and often tend to get bigger with time. Therefore, surgery is the only recommended way to repair a hernia.

While a hernia may not cause any problems or symptoms initially, it can lead to serious complications later, if not repaired. One such potential risk is strangulation or incarceration – a condition that occurs when a tissue such as the intestine gets trapped in the abdominal wall. As a result, the blood supply to the tissue is cut off, and it begins to die. In such cases, the damage is permanent. Symptoms of strangulation include fever, nausea, vomiting, a hernia that turns purple or red, and a gradually intensifying pain.

What does a hernia feel like when touched?

Symptoms of hernia will vary depending on the type of hernia the patient is suffering from. In most cases, the patients may not experience any symptoms initially. However, there may be pressure or sensitivity around the hernia site, and patients may also experience pulling sensations. Other symptoms may include swelling and discomfort around the testicles and a burning or aching sensation around the bulge.

External hernias, such as inguinal hernia, are the most common type of hernia. Inguinal hernias are characterized by a bulge in the groin, which tends to become prominent while:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Straining during urination
  • Laughing
  • Bending over

How much time does it take to recover post hernia surgery?

Hernia occurs when a tissue or an organ tries to push through a weak spot in the muscle wall cavity or the surrounding connective tissue. Open inguinal hernia repair surgery and laparoscopic surgery are the most common treatment procedures used to repair hernias.

  • In open hernia surgery, a linear incision is made in the groin, and the bulge is gently pushed back into place. If the hernia is bulging out through the lower abdominal wall or the inguinal canal, the hernia sac is pushed back, removed, or tied off. The surrounding abdomen wall is then strengthened with the help of surgical mesh, and the incision is sutured with stitches.
  • For laparoscopic surgery, only a few small incisions are made to insert a laparoscope and surgical mesh to repair the hernia. Most patients who undergo an open hernia surgery are able to go home the same day. However, complete recovery can take up to three to six weeks.

How do I know if I have hernia?

Although it is a common belief that only men can get inguinal hernias, women can develop them too. However, the symptoms vary for men and women. Following are common symptoms in men:

  • A bulge that can be felt or seen
  • A feeling of sensitivity or pressure in the area around the groin
  • A pulling sensation around the testicles
  • A pain that intensifies with lifting heavy objects, straining, coughing, standing, or pushing

In women, the symptoms may include:

  • A sharp pain or a burning sensation around the hernia site
  • Discomfort that intensifies with physical activity
  • A bulge that can be seen or felt
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