The bulge created by a hernia can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over, or lift a heavy object. Surgeons at Franciscan Health can repair hernias with minimally invasive surgery for smaller scars and faster recovery.
When an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue (called fascia), the result is a hernia. About 80% of all hernias are inguinal (meaning they occur in the inner groin area), and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.
In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin. Usually, there is no obvious cause of a hernia. You might not even know you have one until your doctor discovers it during a routine medical exam. You can typically see the bulge caused by a hernia.
Inguinal hernias typically don't go away on their own and can lead to life-threatening complications if they grow. For example, if a hernia gets bigger, it may get stuck inside the hole and lose its blood supply. This is called "strangulation" and can cause the death of the affected bowel tissue. Surgery is the only way to permanently repair a hernia.
Any activity or medical problem that increases pressure on the tissue in the abdominal wall and muscles may lead to a hernia, including:
This hernia frequently, though not always, arises in or near a surgical scar related to a previous abdominal operation. Franciscan Health surgeons perform the majority of ventral hernia repairs laparoscopically. This approach involves removing internal scar tissue (adhesions) and placing a patch to reinforce the weak area, all through small, laparoscopic incisions. Patients spend a short time, usually one or two days, in the hospital and experience less pain and a shorter recovery time with this method.