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Delta Medix Patient General Information

Hernia

A hernia occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal wall weaken then bulge or tear. The inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area to form a balloon-like sac. This, in turn, can cause a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue to slip into the sac, causing pain and other potentially serious health problems.

Men and women of all ages can have hernias. Hernias usually occur either because of a natural weakness in the abdominal wall or from excessive strain on the abdominal wall, such as the strain from heavy lifting, substantial weight gain, persistent coughing, or difficulty with bowel movements or urination. A common area for a hernia to be located is near the groin. Hernias may also be found below the groin (femoral), through the navel (umbilical) and along a previous incision (incisional or ventral).

Repair

Hernia surgery used to be painful and often resulted in a slow, difficult recovery. Now, with technological advancements, Delta Medix physicians are able to provide patients with the latest surgical procedure: Robotic-Assisted Hernia Repair. Hernia surgery repair involves tiny incisions rather than the large incisions associated with traditional open surgery. The result is less damage to surrounding tissues, less pain for the patient, and a much quicker recovery – often within days.

Robotic surgery is used to treat all types of hernias, including:

  • Inguinal and Femoral (inner and outer groin)
  • Umbilical (belly button)
  • Incisional (previous surgery sites)
  • Hiatal (reflux/GERD/upper stomach)
  • Diaphragmatic (diaphragm)

The advantage of robotic surgery include:

  • A small incision. An incision that is about the size of a pencil eraser reduces scarring, recovery time, blood loss and risk of infection.
  • Better visibility. Using a high definition 3-D camera provides the surgeon with better visibility than laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery.
  • Increased precision. The wristed robotic arms have a greater range of motion than a human hand. This allows the surgeon to maneuver instruments in ways that deliver the best surgical results.

Because of robotic technology, many patients experience significantly less pain after surgery and return to normal activity much more quickly. In fact, essentially all inguinal hernia repair patients go home the same day and more than 90% of ventral/incisional hernia repair patients go home the same day and return to work after two weeks.

Hiatal Hernia

The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm which is the muscular wall separating the chest cavity from the abdomen. Normally, the esophagus (food pipe) goes through the hiatus into the stomach. In a hiatal hernia, the stomach bulges up into the chest through that opening.

Hiatal hernias are classified into two main types. A sliding hiatal hernia is when the junction of the stomach and the esophagus herniate and slide up into the chest through the hiatus. This is the most common type of hiatal hernia. A paraesophageal hernia is less common, but is more cause for concern. The esophagus and stomach stay in their normal locations, but part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus, placing it next to the esophagus. Although you can have this type of hernia without any symptoms, the danger is that the stomach can become "strangled," which means its blood supply is cut off.

Often, people with a hiatal hernia also have heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although there is a link, one condition does not necessarily cause the other, because some people can have a hiatal hernia without having GERD, and vice versa.

Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia is an abnormal bulge, or protrusion, that can be seen and felt in the groin area (the area between the abdomen and the thigh). The protrusion occurs through the inguinal canal. There are two types of inguinal hernias. They are classified as direct and indirect depending on their relationship to the inferior epigastric vessels. When the hernia occurs medial to the inferior epigastric vessels and the contents herniated through the superficial inguinal ring, it is referred to as a direct hernia. An indirect hernia occurs when the abdominal contents protrude through the deep inguinal ring, lateral to the inferior epigastric vessels.

Inguinal hernias in children result from a weakness in the abdominal wall that is present at birth. The bulge in the groin might only be noticed when the child is crying, coughing, or straining during a bowel movement, or it might appear to be larger during these times.