Rocky Mountains Colorado

Conditions and Procedures

Treatment and Surgery for Hernias / Hernia Repair

inguinal herniaHernias are basically holes or defects in the abdominal wall.  Some hernias are present from birth and some develop over time due to wear and tear of the abdominal wall.  The defects allow for the passage of tissue or organs into other spaces.  This can cause symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to pain to emergent intestinal obstruction or loss of blood flow. Unfortunately, hernias do not heal themselves or get smaller. They grow over time and can become progressively problematic. Although some people can live years with hernias, a physician should evaluate your hernia to help you make an informed decision regarding possible repair.

We specialize in the most advanced minimally invasive techniques in hernia repair. These procedures use laparoscopic instruments and tiny incisions to safely repair hernias. These minimally invasive approaches offer quicker recovery and return to your normal life.

For some patients the minimally invasive techniques are not the best option.  We also have expertise in the newest techniques in “open” hernia repair.  This may be the best option for recurrent or very large hernias.

Most patients may be discharged the same day after hernia repair.

How Hernias Are Repaired:  A Word About Mesh

Almost all hernia repairs require the use of mesh.  Most hernias will recur without the surgical placement of mesh.  Despite many lawsuits and negative publicity about certain types of mesh, the mesh we use in hernia repairs has an excellent safety record. 

Mesh is typically placed inside the abdomen and is used to strengthen the hernia repair.  It acts much like a patch used to repair a hole in a tire.  Most mesh is permanent and provides necessary reinforcement to a hernia repair.  Mesh can be surgically placed in both laparoscopic and open hernia repair techniques.  

Common Types of Hernias

Inguinal (or Groin) Hernias

These hernias are extremely common and vary greatly in size and symptoms. These hernias generally present as a tenderness or bulge in the groin. These often occur on both sides. These can be repaired with laparoscopic and traditional open methods. The choice of method depends on the type and size of the hernia as well as on patient preference.

Ventral Hernias

These hernias typically form higher on the abdominal wall, most often at or near the belly button. They tend to present with tenderness or a bulge somewhere in the front of the abdomen. These may contain a small amount of fat or, if larger, intestine. Ventral hernias can be repaired with laparoscopic and traditional open methods. The choice of method depends on the type and size of the hernia as well as on patient preference.

Recurrent and Incisional Hernias

Perhaps the biggest risk to a hernia surgery is the risk that the hernia can come back. Depending on several factors including smoking, body mass index (BMI), and diabetes you may be at higher risk for this.  If you have on-going pain or a bulge at a previous hernia repair site, the hernia may have recurred.

Any abdominal incision may lead to a hernia. This is especially true if you had surgery for some type of infection. If you have pain or a bulge at or near a previous surgical incision site, you may have an incisional hernia. These hernias should be evaluated by a physician for possible repair.

Hiatal/Paraesophageal Hernias

This is a different type of hernia that is not visible to you or your doctor on physical exam. In a hiatal hernia, the opening in your diaphragm through which your esophagus enters your abdomen becomes enlarged. This allows your stomach to slip from your abdomen into your chest. Typically the symptoms of a hiatal hernia include difficulty swallowing, severe reflux/regurgitation/indigestion or the feeling of food getting caught in your throat. These hernias are diagnosed with the help of endoscopy or special x-rays.  The surgery to repair these is done laparoscopically and requires several days' stay in the hospital. This surgery is performed after medical management of your symptoms fails.