WHAT IS AN INGUINAL HERNIA?
An inguinal hernia occurs when the contents of the abdomen protrude through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall, otherwise known as the groin region.
This condition is classified into two types: indirect and direct. Indirect inguinal hernias occur from a natural defect in the abdominal wall, usually present from birth. Direct inguinal hernias typically develop in adult males whose abdominal wall weakens over time.
Where an inguinal hernia leads to life-threatening complications, the inguinal hernia surgery NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions specializes in is most likely to be the foremost recommendation to repair the abdominal wall. Surgical repair for an inguinal hernia is a common procedure.
There are several factors that may contribute to the development of an inguinal hernia. Some of these factors include:
- Gender – women are eight times less likely to develop an inguinal hernia than men.
- Age – the muscles of the abdominal wall may weaken as you grow older.
- Family history – the risk of developing an inguinal hernia rises in those who have a family history of the condition.
- Chronic cough, as with smokers.
- Chronic constipation can cause excessive straining leading to an inguinal hernia.
- Previous inguinal hernia – if you have had a previous hernia repaired during childhood, you are at higher risk of developing another inguinal hernia.
- Pregnancy can weaken the abdominal muscles leading to increased pressure inside the abdomen.
INGUINAL HERNIA SYMPTOMS
In most cases, someone with an inguinal hernia will notice an unusual bulge near their groin area. This bulge may disappear when lying down and could expand and shrink while coughing. Potential symptoms could include:
- Dull or sharp pain when exercising, coughing, standing, bending or lifting objects.
- Weakness in groin area.
- Burning in groin area.
- Swelling of the scrotum in men or boys.
INGUINAL HERNIA CAUSES
Males are far more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than females. In fact, 25 percent of men will develop this issue in their lifetime compared to just two percent of females. Indirect hernias usually appear from birth to age 30.
Direct inguinal hernias generally develop in men over the age of 40 as their abdominal walls weaken with age. Studies show that a person with a family history of this condition is more likely to develop inguinal hernia issues. Smoking is also shown to increase risk.
DIAGNOSING AN INGUINAL HERNIA
Since this issue is fairly easy to spot, the doctor will typically only need to perform a physical exam. During this exam, the patient may be asked to stand and cough in order to enlarge the hernia. In rare cases where the hernia can’t be found with a physical examination, an imaging test may be necessary.
TREATING AN INGUINAL HERNIA
Minor cases may not require any treatment and will be monitored regularly by a physician. Mild to severe cases are usually treated with a surgery called a herniorrhaphy. These surgeries are performed in one of two ways:
Open Hernia Repair – The surgeon will make an incision outside of the affected area. The protruding tissue will be placed back behind the abdominal wall. The weakened abdominal wall tissue will often be reinforced. Once the incision is closed, the procedure is complete.
Laparoscopic Hernia Repair – This procedure is minimally invasive. During a laparoscopy, the surgeon will create several tiny incisions and operate using a small tube attached to a camera. Small tools will be used to repair the hernia. This option may reduce recovery time, but may not be available to those with large hernias or previous pelvic surgeries.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY
No matter the type of surgical procedure elected to treat an inguinal hernia, surgery, NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions provides, is the only way to remedy the condition. With the laparoscopic hernia repair you are likely to feel less pain and heal faster than traditional surgery. An inguinal hernia can be quite painful when left untreated. Surgery pushes the protruding tissue back into your abdomen and the hernia is repaired using synthetic mesh. After the surgery Dr. Prokurat will encourage you to move about as soon as possible. It may be several weeks before you are able to resume normal activities.
If you are suffering from an inguinal hernia, the team at NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions is here to help you regain your health and vitality. Please feel free to give us a call or fill out the form provided and we will get back to you as soon as possible.