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Hernia Surgery

We repair hernias so you can get back to your day-to-day activities. We use minimally invasive surgical procedures and robotic systems so you can recover faster.

Hernia Repair Services

A hernia can happen to anyone and is a common medical condition. Defects in the abdominal wall cause hernias. Many causes can lead to a hernia, including long-term constipation, chronic cough, lifting heavy items, physical exertion, pregnancy, being overweight and smoking. Despite the cause, we can diagnose and treat several types of hernia conditions with minimally invasive procedures and robotic technology. We take the time to tell you what to expect before and after surgery. We believe that is important for your successful recovery.

Your Care Team

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  Conditions We Treat

Conditions / Procedures

  • Inguinal hernias

    Overview:

    An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin, where the lower abdominal muscle meets the thigh. More common among men than women, inguinal hernias are a result of a weakness in the abdominal wall. If part of your intestine pushes through a weak spot, that can cause a bulge. Although many hernias do not cause symptoms, you may have discomfort when you cough, bend over, lift a heavy object or do anything that can cause stress in that area of the abdominal wall. In more severe cases, inguinal hernia can cause GI symptoms and can also lead to potentially life-threatening complications. An inguinal hernia has a natural tendency to get worse with time until a surgeon can repair it.

    Symptoms may include:

    • A bulge in the groin area
    • Pain in the groin around the area of the bulge, especially when coughing, lifting or exercising
    • A burning sensation at the site of the bulge
    • A heaviness or weakness in the groin
    • Pain or swelling in the scrotum
    • GI or urinary symptoms

    Treatment/procedure options:

    Treatments include observation. Also, some patients find supportive garments such as a hernia belt or jockstrap helpful in alleviating symptoms. However, there is no non-surgical definitive treatment for an inguinal hernia. Most inguinal hernias can be diagnosed based on your history and physical examination. Complex inguinal hernias or atypical symptoms can be evaluated further with ultrasound or CT imaging. Doctors prefer minimally invasive mesh repairs to treat inguinal hernias because this technique has favorable recovery time, low recurrence rates and low complication rates.

  • Incisional ventral hernias

    Overview:

    A ventral hernia is a defect in the abdominal muscular wall. Depending on the size, location and history, hernias can range from simple to complex. Risk factors include increased abdominal pressure due to chronic coughing, straining, intense physical labor, recent surgery or pregnancy.

    A ventral incisional hernia describes a hernia at the site of a surgical incision. Typically occurring at the front of the abdomen, ventral incisional hernias can vary in size from small to gigantic. Nonetheless, this type of hernia does not heal on its own and requires surgical treatment to reduce the protruding tissue back and close the hernia defect.

    Symptoms may include:

    • A bulge at or near an old surgical incision
    • Pain in the abdomen when coughing, lifting, or exercising
    • A burning sensation at the site of the bulge
    • Redness, pain, or hardening of the hernia
    • Constipation
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

    Treatment/procedure options:

    Treating this type of hernia can include limiting physical activity, wearing abdominal binders and taking over-the-counter medications if necessary for pain control. However, the hernia itself will not heal on its own without surgery. Hernias are often diagnosed with a thorough history and physical examination alone. Depending on the nature and complexity of the hernia defect, a CT scan can be helpful in planning procedures. Depending on the complexity of hernia, a wide array of techniques, such as non-mesh repairs to abdominal wall reconstructive procedures, are available. Many of these procedures can be performed with laparoscopic or robotic surgery.

  • Primary ventral hernias

    Overview:

    A ventral hernia is a defect in the abdominal muscular wall. Depending on the size, location and history, hernias can range from simple to complex. Risk factors include increased abdominal pressure due to chronic coughing, straining, intense physical labor, recent surgery or pregnancy.

    Primary hernias form on their own without a history of prior surgery at the site. The most common primary ventral hernias include epigastric hernias that occur from the breastbone to the belly button and umbilical hernias that occur at the belly button. Typically, belly buttons with an “outie” appearance can be a sign of an umbilical hernia. Ventral hernias do not heal on their own. Our UTMB doctors can evaluate these to avoid the risk of enlargement or possible life-threatening complications such as strangulation.

    Symptoms may include:

    • A bulge in the abdomen
    • Aching or burning pain in the abdomen around the area of the bulge, especially when crouching, lifting or exercising
    • GI symptoms such as nausea or vomiting due to involvement of intestine
    • Constipation

    Treatment/procedure options:

    Treating this type of hernia can include limiting physical activity, wearing abdominal binders and taking over-the-counter medications if necessary for pain control. However, the hernia itself will not heal on its own without surgery. Hernias are often diagnosed with a thorough history and physical examination alone. Depending on the nature and complexity of the hernia defect, a CT scan can be helpful in planning procedures. Depending on the complexity of hernia, a wide array of techniques, such as non-mesh repairs to abdominal wall reconstructive procedures, are available. Many of these procedures can be performed with laparoscopic or robotic surgery.

  • Complex ventral hernias

    Overview:

    A ventral hernia is a defect in the abdominal muscular wall. Depending on the size, location and history, hernias can range from simple to complex. Risk factors include increased abdominal pressure due to chronic coughing, straining, intense physical labor, recent surgery or pregnancy.

    Complex abdominal wall hernias are based on their size, anatomical location, and history of prior attempts to repair. We offer technical surgical expertise from specialists who treat and manage numerous cases. 

    Symptoms may include:

    • A bulge in the abdomen
    • Pain in the abdomen around the area of the bulge, especially when coughing, lifting or exercising
    • A burning sensation at the site of the bulge
    • Redness, pain, or hardening of the hernia
    • Constipation
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

    Treatment/procedure options:

    Treating this type of hernia can include limiting physical activity, wearing abdominal binders and taking over-the-counter medications if necessary for pain control. However, the hernia itself will not heal on its own without surgery. Hernias are often diagnosed with a thorough history and physical examination alone. Depending on the nature and complexity of the hernia defect, a CT scan can be helpful in planning procedures. Depending on the complexity of hernia, a wide array of techniques, such as non-mesh repairs to abdominal wall reconstructive procedures, are available. Many of these procedures can be performed with laparoscopic or robotic surgery.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What type of insurance is accepted?

Most insurance plans are accepted. However, because health plans periodically change, we recommend you contact your insurance provider to verify that the location and provider you plan to visit is in your network. Your health plan can inform you of any co-payments, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs that will be your responsibility.

Do I need a referral?

Depending on your condition, we may require a referral from your primary care provider. Additionally, managed health care plans may require a referral authorization prior to your visit. We encourage you to check with your insurance provider and get a referral before scheduling if your plan requires it.

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