What is a hernia?
A hernia refers to protrusion of an organ through the layers that normally contain it and typically in the abdomen, it is associated with appearance of a lump. It happens at points of weakness.
What are the types of hernia?
In the abdomen, the hernia types are related to anatomical location.
Ventral – Midline
Paraumbilical – Around Umbilicus
Incisional – Site of previous surgical operation
Inguinal / Femoral – Groin hernias
What are the symptoms of hernia?
Appearance of lump is a first symptom. This may be associated with dragging or burning or bursting type pain.
What are complications of hernia?
The dreaded complication is strangulation. This refers to loss of blood supply to the protruding organ because of tightness around the exit of hernia. This makes the hernia immediately painful, patients are advised to attend the nearest hospital.
How are hernias diagnosed?
Hernias are diagnosed by a doctor by noting the symptoms and examining the patient. At times, an ultrasound scan may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Other less commonly used investigations include MRI, CT scan or a X-ray examination with dye called a Herniogram.
How are hernias treated?
Almost all hernias require surgery. The timing is dependent on risk of strangulation, symptoms and location. The objective of hernia surgery is return the contents of the hernia to original location and strengthen the wall to prevent a recurrence. A mesh is often used to give strength, this is an artificial sheet that encourages scar tissue formation and prevents a recurrence of hernia.
Hernias may be treated with open operation or through the key-hole route (laparoscopic). Recovery from laparoscopic operation may be quicker.