What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a relatively common condition that can affect people of all ages, genders and races. Hernias are estimated to affect approximately five percent of the population at any given time in their lives. A hernia is a hole in the muscular wall of the abdomen through which intestines (or other organs) can protrude and be trapped under the skin. A hernia repair involves closing the hole in the abdominal wall. This can be more complicated than it sounds if the intestines are stuck inside the cavity, or if the borders of the cavity are weak and cannot hold sutures well. Long-standing and large hernias can be particularly hard to repair. When the surrounding tissues are especially weak or stretched, they may need to be augmented or replaced. This often occurs in areas of previous surgical scars, the umbilicus or in the groin area.
Why We Fix Hernias
The reasons we fix hernias are as follows:
- Incarceration (the contents of the hernia become trapped inside the wall of the hernia)
- Large hernias which may be at a higher risk of complications
- Pain or discomfort
- Strangulation (the contents of the hernia lose their blood supply due to prolonged incarceration)
If the organs that lie inside a hernia become compressed or strangulated, the results can be deadly. Thus, it is important to take hernias very seriously. Surgery is the only means of hernia repair. Most hernia surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis.