A small hernia may not cause any symptoms, but hernias can often worsen over time. Surgical repair is the only effective way to treat most hernias, although taking a conservative approach may be appropriate for many patients. The physicians at Suburban Surgical Associates/Suburban Metabolic Institute have extensive experience performing traditional and minimally-invasive hernia repair techniques, along with abdominal wall reconstruction approaches. Every hernia is different, and our surgeons take a personalized approach to determine the best way to reverse your condition. If you have signs of a hernia, call one of our offices in Berwyn or La Grange, Illinois, or request an appointment online.
You develop a hernia when an internal organ or other structures protrude through a weak point or opening in muscle, usually the abdominal wall musculature.
Many people believe that heavy lifting, frequent coughing, and straining when you’re constipated are common causes of hernias. However, it’s also critical to realize that smoking, obesity, and diabetes are among the most common contributing factors to hernias.
Addressing these issues can drastically reduce your risks of having complications of surgery or developing hernias again in the future.
Inguinal and femoral hernias account for 75-80% of all hernias. Other common forms include:
These occur in your inguinal region or the upper groin area. In males, sometimes they can extend down into the scrotum.
These also occur in the groin region but are often lower and more painful than an inguinal hernia.
In this kind of hernia, intestinal or fatty tissue pushes through the abdomen near your navel, or umbilicus, causing an “outie.”
Ventral or incisional hernias
These hernias can develop anywhere on the abdominal wall where an incision from a prior surgery was made, most often in the midline or of the abdomen.
These hernias occur internally, against your diaphragm. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach pushes through the diaphragm, causing the stomach to start to slide up into the chest. This can cause acid reflux symptoms or heartburn, trouble swallowing, pain, or in some cases, strangulation of the stomach.
When a hernia pushes through abdominal muscles, you’ll see a noticeable lump. You may also feel a pain that worsens when activity places pressure on the hernia site. Since hiatal hernias occur inside your abdomen and affect your stomach, they may cause heartburn, indigestion, and chest pain.
Hernias never heal on their own. Over time, they become larger and more painful. They can also get strangulated when the muscle squeezes tightly enough to cut off their blood supply. Your only treatment option is a surgical repair.
The physicians at Suburban Surgical Associates perform minimally-invasive hernia repair and conventional open surgeries, depending on the type of hernia and your overall health. Inguinal hernias are often treated using laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, a minimally-invasive procedure that produces less pain, minimal scarring, and quicker recovery.
During a hernia repair, your physician places the protruding tissue back into its proper place. A hernia mesh may be implanted over the area to provide extra support; then the muscle is stitched back together.
Hernia mesh and muscle stitches won’t work when your hernia is large, or you’ve had recurring hernias. They also won’t work if the abdominal muscles are severely weakened, scarred, or damaged. In these cases, your surgeon must perform a complex abdominal wall reconstruction.
During this procedure, your surgeon moves abdominal muscles from one area to another. Your abdominal muscles contain several layers that your surgeon can separate and slide across each other to close the hernia and tighten your overall abdomen.