A hernia occurs when the contents of a body cavity push through a weakened muscle or tissue wall creating a bulge in that area. These contents are usually a part of the intestine or abdominal fatty tissue, which is enclosed in the thin membrane lining the inside of the cavity.
The abdominal wall which is made up of layers of different muscles and tissues may develop weak spots that allow contents of the abdominal cavity to protrude or herniate.
Hernias have a potential risk of blood supply being cut off or strangulated. This can lead to a surgical emergency, due to lack of oxygen to the tissues, from the cut off blood supply.
Hernias are of different types based on which location they occur.
The most common abdominal hernias occur in:
Hernias by themselves may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or cause mild to severe pain. The pain could occur either while resting or only during activities like walking or running.
Inguinal (groin) Hernia : These make up 75% of all abdominal wall hernias which are of two types – direct and indirect. They occur up to 25 times more often in men than in women.
Both direct and indirect hernias occur in the groin area that appears as a bulge in the inguinal area, where the skin of the thigh joins the torso.
An indirect hernia may appear at any age, while a direct hernia tends to occur in the middle-aged and elderly because their abdominal walls weaken as they age.
Femoral Hernia: A femoral hernia usually occurs in women which are irreducible and strangulated. This hernia causes a bulge just below the inguinal crease around the middle of the upper leg.
Umbilical Hernia: These are common hernias mostly observed in a child at birth as a protrusion at the belly button (the umbilicus). An umbilical hernia is caused when an opening in the child’s abdominal wall, does not close completely at birth.
Incisional Hernia : This usually occurs in case of an abdominal surgery with a flaw in the abdominal wall. that can create a weak area, through which a hernia may develop. This occurs after 2%-10% of all abdominal surgeries.
Spigelian Hernia: This is a rare type of a hernia that occurs along the edge of the rectus abdominus muscle, which is several inches lateral to the middle of the abdomen.
Obturator Hernia: This is extremely a rare abdominal hernia that is common in women. This hernia protrudes from the pelvic cavity through an opening in the pelvic bone (obturator foramen).
Epigastric Hernia: This occurs in between the navel and the lower part of the rib cage in the midline of the abdomen, usually composed of fatty tissue and rarely contain intestine.
Hiatal Hernia: It occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm, which has a small opening for the esophagus. The stomach pushes through this opening. A large hiatal hernia can cause pain and heartburn.
Diaphragmatic hernia: With the defective opening in the diaphragm, at birth, it causes abdominal content to push through into the chest cavity.
Abdominal hernias are usually present at birth, though some hernia develops later in life due to the existing openings in the abdominal cavity, or weak areas of the abdominal wall.
Some activities or conditions can increase the pressure on the abdominal cavity and may worsen a hernia such as:
Common symptoms of most hernias are indicated by abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by painless lump to severely painful, tender, swollen protrusion of tissue. This protrusion does not return into the abdominal cavity on its own or when pushed in.
Signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction may occur, such as nausea and vomiting.
Treatment of a hernia depends on whether it is reducible, irreducible or possibly strangulated. The treatment of every hernia is individualized. You must discuss with your doctor about the risks and benefits of surgical versus nonsurgical management.
Reducible hernia – In general, all hernias should be repaired to avoid the possibility of future intestinal strangulation. All acutely irreducible hernias need emergency hernia repair because of the risk of strangulation.
Hernias which have a large opening, are difficult to close with surgery, such hernias are treated without surgery, by using abdominal binders, based on the individual condition.
Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, procedures use multiple small incisions no more than 1 centimeter in length to access a hernia. The abdomen is then inflated with carbon dioxide to provide room for the surgeon to work, and the hernia repaired with a small, flexible device called a laparoscope.
If you already have a hernia and it suddenly becomes painful, tender, and irreducible, you should also go to the emergency department. Strangulation of the intestine within the hernia sac can lead to gangrenous (dead) bowel in as little as six hours. Not all irreducible hernias are strangulated, but they need to be evaluated.
Ravi Hospital has some of the best general surgeons to repair all types of hernias. They are experienced and have done over 2000 hernial procedures over the past decade.
The surgeons adopt closed surgeries as the first option in which a laparoscope is used to perform the procedure to minimize patient discomfort with minimal incisions). Laparoscopic surgeries also speed up recovery.
With 24/7 in-house laboratory, Critical Care, Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Care, CT Scan services, the diagnosis and treatment are quick, minimizing patient discomfort and saving time. The hospital has compassionate doctors and staff who are patient-centric in the services, they offer.
Have questions or need an appointment, call Ravi Hospital.