Do I need hernia surgery?

Are you experiencing pain in your abdomen when you cough, bend, or lift? Can you feel a lump protruding from your belly or groin? You might have a hernia.

What is a hernia?

A hernia happens when fatty tissue or an organ (such as intestines) push through a weak abdominal wall in the belly or groin areas. This often creates an external bulge that may or may not cause pain—you may even be able to push it back in. While hernias may not require treatment right away, they don’t go away on their own. The only way to repair a hernia is with surgery.

What causes a hernia?

Hernias happen when your abdominal wall becomes weak. Sometimes weak spots are present at birth, but other risk factors can also contribute to hernias.

Common risk factors for hernias include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Frequent coughing
  • Obesity
  • Physical exertion, especially heavy lifting
  • Pregnancy
  • Straining on the toilet (constipation)

“Because of the smaller incisions, patients who undergo laparoscopic hernia surgery typically experience less pain and require a shorter hospital stay,” said Dr. Jordan Smith, general surgeon at Samaritan Healthcare. “However, not all hernias can be repaired laparoscopically. You should always talk to your healthcare provider about which type of hernia repair is best for you.”

What is the average hernia surgery recovery time?

“Hernia surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning most patients go home the same day,” said Dr. Andrea Matson, general surgeon at Samaritan Healthcare. “Though recovery time does vary depending on the patient and the type of hernia surgery.”

Those who have an open hernia surgery typically can resume normal activities within a few weeks and can resume exercise within four to six weeks. Those who have laparoscopic hernia surgery typically can resume normal activities in a few days.

What are the potential complications of a hernia?

If you have a hernia, early treatment is crucial to avoid serious complications. The longer you postpone hernia surgery, the greater your risk for the hernia becoming strangulated, which means the muscles surrounding the hernia cut off the blood flow to the organ or tissue. A strangulated hernia is life-threatening.

Symptoms of strangulation include:

  • severe pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • redness or inflammation around hernia

Strangulation is an emergency and requires hernia surgery. If you experience the symptoms listed above, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

About Dr. Jordan Smith & Dr. Andrea Matson

Dr. Jordan Smith and Dr. Andrea Matson are Samaritan Healthcare’s full-time, on-site general surgeons. They perform a wide variety of surgical procedures for common, complex, and emergency conditions—including hernia surgery. Both Dr. Smith and Dr. Matson specialize in using traditional and minimally invasive techniques.

Samaritan General Surgery is located at Samaritan Clinic on Pioneer, Suite 305. Talk to your primary care provider about a referral to Dr. Smith or Dr. Matson or call 509.793.9792 to learn more.

Article Source: Samaritan Healthcare