Repairing a Hernia

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Baptist Health La Grange: Repairing a Hernia

Surgeon Thomas Hart, MD, outlines the symptoms of a hernia and describes the procedure for repairing the condition, which could be life threatening if untreated.

Repairing a Hernia HealthTalks Transcript

Thomas Hart, MD, General Surgery
A hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall or the groin area, so it’s a weakness of the fascia. Some of the causes of hernia would be increased abdominal wall pressure, chronic cough, obesity, straining and smoking. A lot of them are asymptomatic, meaning that they don’t have any symptoms at all, but often a patient will notice a small bulge or a swelling in the area that may come or go, they may have some discomfort in the area or they may notice some gurgling in the bulge. People say they want you to take the hernia away. You can’t really do that, what you do is you either fix the defect with a suture material or with a mesh-type material. Laparoscopically, it would be done through three or four small incisions that would be out away from the hernia itself, and you would use mesh on that 100 percent of the time. The dangers in a hernia are two — it can incarcerate, meaning if something sticks out and cannot be pushed back in, and a small percentage of those will strangulate, meaning they’ll lose their blood supply. So, whatever is stuck out in that hernia will die, if it’s a loop of intestine, it could be life threatening. Re-occurrence after surgery generally will be higher in people that haven’t been able to change their lifestyle that initially caused the hernia to begin with.