Hernia – Causes, Types, Complications, Treatment

Hernia is a common problem in men, women and children.  Hernia in simple terms is the abnormal protrusion of the internal organs through a weakness or a hole in the muscular wall of the abdomen.  The common sites for hernia are the groin, lower abdomen, the belly button or umbilicus. 

While open surgical treatment of hernia is possible, laparoscopic repair of hernia offers many advantages over open repair.

As mentioned earlier, the main cause for hernia is a weakness or hole in the muscular layer.  Past abdominal surgeries can also contribute to the occurrence of hernias and is termed as incisional hernia.

Hernia can be exacerbated by:

  • Heavy weight lifting.
  • Chronic constipation.
  • Chronic cough, which can put pressure on the abdomen.
  • Straining while passing motion or urine.
  • Overweight / Obesity.
  • Smoking.

Hernia can present in the following ways:

  • Groin or Scrotal bulge
  • Groin discomfort, usually worse with bending or heavy lifting.
  • Discomfort or pain with bowel movements and urination.

Strangulated hernia can present with fever, nausea and vomiting, severe cramping.  Strangulated hernia can be life-threatening and is very important to seek immediate medical attention.

Infants can suffer from umbilical hernia and is usually presented with a lump at the umbilicus. They also can have inguinal hernias.

Based on the location of the site of hernia, hernia can be named into different types:

Inguinal Hernia – Mostly occurring in men, when the intestine or bladder protrudes into the inguinal canal.

Femoral Hernia – Most common in women, and usually located at the upper part of the thigh.

Epigastric Hernia – One that occurs in the epigastric region of the abdomen, located above the belly button.

Hiatal Hernia – Occurs when the stomach protrudes through a weak spot in the diaphragm.

Incisional Hernia – Occurs usually after an abdominal surgery due to the surgical wound not healing completely.

Hernia Locations - Epigastric, Umbilical, Incisional, Inguinal, Femoral

Presence of hernia can definitely be a source of discomfort.  In some cases, it would be accompanied by pain.  Untreated hernia can grow over a period of time and can lead to further complications such as incarceration, intestinal obstruction or strangulation.

Incarceration occurs when the protruded intestine gets trapped in the abdominal wall causing bowel obstruction, severe pain, constipation, nausea. 

Strangulation is the condition where blood supply to the trapped section of the intestine is reduced.  This condition is life threatening and immediate surgery is absolutely necessary.

It is always advisable to go for early treatment of hernia to prevent further complications.  Treatment measures include open repair of hernia or laparoscopic repair of hernia.

Open repair of hernia needs a large cut in the abdomen and the surgeon performs the repair under direct vision.  Open repair carries the disadvantages of the patient getting a large cut on the abdomen, more time for healing, increased stay in the hospital and significant pain for many weeks. 

Laparoscopic repair of hernia on the other hand is performed through keyhole incisions, which are very small cuts, with the help of an instrument called laparoscopeLaparoscopic Surgery is the modern innovation in medical field and offers several advantages, the major being small incisions, reduced hospital stay of 2 – 3 days, faster recovery and very less pain.

For adults, a mesh is placed from inside to give strength to the weak muscle and to cover the hole of hernias.

In children, stitching and closing the hole is sufficient.

Generally, one or two days of hospitalization is sufficient for laparoscopic surgery.

Keyhole Clinic is situated in the Heart of Kochi. We are at a very convenient location and we offer same day appointments from all areas. We have a well experienced and reputed team with over 25 years of Experience in the field of Laparoscopy. Keyhole Clinic offers comprehensive treatment for all types of hernia and is laparoscopic or Keyhole hernia treatment center in Kochi.  As the name suggests, Keyhole Clinic is the center for Keyhole Surgeries

Dr. R. Padmakumar

Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Dr. Madhukara Pai

General Surgery

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