A hernia is a bulge or a protrusion of an organ or fatty tissue through a weakened area in the muscle or connective tissue in which the organ is enclosed. A hernia can develop in any part of the body. However, the muscles of the abdominal wall are most commonly affected. Hernias can occur in babies and in adults. Hernias in babies often heal by itself within 4 years, but for others, hernia surgery is the standard treatment.
TYPES OF HERNIA
There are many types of hernia that are classified based on their anatomical location. The common types of hernia include inguinal; part of the intestine protrudes through the lower abdominal muscle into the groin. Femoral; fat tissue or part of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal muscles or through the femoral canal near the major blood vessels and into the thigh. Incisional; tissue protrudes through the previous surgical wound which becomes structurally weak, umbilical fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal muscle near the belly button. Epigastric; fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal muscle above the belly button and under the rib cage.
The symptoms depended on the type of hernia, its cause and size. The main symptom is the appearance of a lump or swelling in the region involved. The lump may be painless and be only felt on exertion such as lifting heavy objects, coughing etc.
Some hernias can cause pain during exertion.
The lump is often not felt when the person is lying down, it becomes prominent on standing and particularly on straining. Some hernias can cause bowel strangulation of threaten blood supply and can become blocked causing severe pain and discomfort requiring emergency surgery.
Dr Baxter will diagnose the hernia at examination. Ultrasounds or x-rays are sometimes used to help diagnose a hernia.
The treatment is surgery. Surgery aims at closure and repair of the muscle wall through which the hernia protrudes using either suture or mesh repair depending on the location of the hernia. Dr Baxter usually performs this repair laparoscopically.