An opening or a weakness that occurs in the muscles of the abdominal wall is called hernia. Due to this defect a protrusion occurs on the abdominal wall. This protrusion becomes noticeable when the abdominal muscles are tightened and the pressure increases in the abdomen. Any activity that increases abdominal pressure like lifting heavy weights, recurrent coughing, or even chronic constipation to have a bowel movement can worsen a hernia.
Serious complications may occur when the tissues get trapped in the hernia. This is called incarceration. When tissues are trapped, their blood supply may get cut off, causing damage or death to them. Treatment for incarcerations most often involves emergency surgery.
The commonest location for hernia is the groin area. This tendency is due to a natural weakness in the groin region because of incomplete muscle coverage. Also due to the upright position of human posture, a greater force occurs at the lower part of the abdomen, increasing the stress on the weaker tissues. These factors over a period of time breaks down the support tissues leading to a tear and a weakness.
The general symptoms are pain or discomfort and a localized swelling somewhere on the surface of the abdomen or in the groin area.
Types of Hernias
Types of hernia, such as epigastric, umbilical, incisional, lumbar, internal, and Spigelian occur at different sites over the abdomen, in areas that are prone to structural weakness. With the exception of hernias within the abdomen, they are commonly recognized as a lump or swelling and are often associated with pain or discomfort at the site.
A hernia repair is a surgical procedure depending on the specific type of hernia.In normal repairs,the normal tissue is separated away to define the margins of the defect or weakness. Then the defect is closed, usually by some combination of suture and a mesh. The mesh is a permanent material and allow the body`s normal helaing process. This is a very effective means of repair. After completing the hernia repair, the overlying tissues and skin are surgically closed, usually with absorbable sutures.
Laparoscopic hernia repair
Laparoscopic hernia repair is a recent development,which is an extension of a traditional mesh repair method. With the development of the instruments and techniques for laparoscopic surgery, the earlier procedure could now be done with several relatively small incisions. This helps the surgeon to reach the space behing the hernia defect and place the mesh with minimal injury to the surface of the abdomen. This method covers all the potential sited of groin hernia, reducing the risks of recurrence the amount of post-surgical pain.
Anesthesia in Hernia Surgery
Most hernia repairs,other than in children can be done with a number techniques and monitoring,general anesthesia can be very safe. The surgery can also be performed under local anesthesia. The specific type of anesthetic for an individual patient is selected after careful evaluation of the patient`s general health condition.
Strengthening the Muscles and Hernia
Exercising to improve a hernia could aggravate the condition. Exercise may strengthen the surrounding muscles, but may worsen the localixed weakness increasing the pressures inside the abdomen. As a resultmore tissue may force through the defect and enlarge the hernia.
Many of the factors that cause hernias are usually beyond the control of an individual. Some of these factors are inherited and may develop as the individual grows. The arrangement of the local tissues and their thickness and strength may greatly affecy the comparative risk of developing a hernia over a lifetime. However, that risk can be increased by failure in using good body mechanics while lifting heavy weights, poor abdominal support posture, and problems in weight-control.
Do Hernias usually develop on both sides of the body?
Groin hernias are more likely to develop on both sides, probably because the structural elements develop symmetrically, and the stress on the body that occur over time are similar on both sides. When a patient becomes aware of a groin selling on one side, examination by a doctor will most often identify a small hernia on the opposite side too.
Should Hernias be Repaired?
Generally, hernias that are at risk for complications, that cause pain, or that limit activity should be repaired. If they are not repaired, there is a risk that an emergency surgical procedure may be required at a later date, due to incarceration.
Identifying if a Lump or Swelling is a Hernia
All lumps or swellings on the abdominal wall or in the groin need not be hernias. Such swellings should be evaluated by a doctor. Other possible causes could be growths or enlarged lymph nodes, which may require totally different types of treatment.
Advantages of Laparoscopic Repair of Hernia.
- Less pain.
- Shorther duration of hospitalization.
- Minimal scars.