1. What is Hernia?
A condition in which a part of an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity, causing pain and discomfort, is known as Hernia.
- Abdomen is the most prone region for hernia.
- A swelling in the affected region is the most common symptom of hernia.
- A bulge on either side of the pubic bone in case of an inguinal hernia is the most likely to be felt when you stand up.
- In kids the bulge can only be felt when they cry.
- Some of the common symptoms of hernia include pain and uneasiness in the affected area, weakness, a feeling of heaviness or pressure etc.
- The bulge gives a burning sensation sometimes.
- Acid reflux is a symptom of hiatal hernia.
- Chest pain can also occur in a person affected by hernia.
2. What causes Hernia?
- Muscle weakness and strain together can cause hernia.
- Congenital defect is another reason for hernia
- Age: Hernia is commonly seen in geriatric mass but can occur at any age
- Characteristic chronic chough is a reason for hernia
- Hernia can be an adverse effect of pregnancy as well.
- Any damage to the abdomen caused by an injury may lead to hernia.
- Constipation leads to excessive strain on the abdomen thereby causing hernia.
- If a person is lifting heavy weights constantly on a regular basis, he or she may get prone to hernia.
- Sudden weight gain can cause hernia.
3. What are the types of Hernia?
Inguinal hernia: Occurs when the intestines protrude through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall. It is the most common type of hernia.
Hiatal hernia: Occurs when the diaphragm is protruded through by a part of the stomach into the chest. It is mostly observed among people who have an age of 50 years or less.
Umbilical hernia: Occurs in infants if their intestines protrude through the abdominal wall close to the umbilicus. This type of hernia usually goes away on its own.
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia: Occurs due to a birth defect in diaphragm.
Incisional hernia: Occurs post abdominal surgery.
4. What are the treatment options for Hernia?
The treatment may differ based on the size of the hernia and the severity of the symptoms. Hiatal hernia can be cured by modifying the diet. Heavy meals should be avoided, lying down or bending over after a meal should be avoided and the body weight should be kept in a normal range. The hernia can be held in its place by using trusses, corsets or binders. However these are temporary approaches. These approaches can be used in older people who are at an increased risk to undergo surgery. In case the hernia doesn’t subside, the patient might have to opt for surgery.
5. What are the surgical options for treatment of Hernia?
- Based on the position and the complexity of the hernia the method of surgery is decided.
- Open surgery
- An incision is made in the abdomen at the position of the hernia
- The Intestine are brought back to their original place.
- A mesh can be placed to confine the herniated part to its original place.
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Numerous small incisions are made in the abdominal wall adjacent to the hernia
- Miniature surgical instruments and cameras are inserted and patch work is done through the cuts after filling the abdomen with carbon dioxide
- After the surgery the gas is released and the slits are closed.
6. Which doctors perform Hernia surgery?
Usually a general surgeon or a urologist performs the hernia surgery in all cases of hernia.
7. Who is a candidate for Hernia surgery?
A person is a candidate for hernia surgery when the intestines protrude through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall. When the affected tissues get trapped in the hernial sack, the patient is a candidate for the surgery. If the hernia is large, growing and causing a lot of discomfort and pain, then you are a candidate for the surgery.
8. What are the preparations for Hernia surgery?
- Medical and surgical history of the affected person should be reviewed
- Physical examination is a must prior to the surgery
- Diet and medications must be discussed with the doctor properly
- A week before the surgery the following steps should be taken:
- Aspirin intake should be stopped
- Smoking should be reduced to a great extent.
- Arrangements must be made by the patient’s family member for taking him/her to the hospital on the day of the surgery and also back home.
- A day before the surgery:
- A laxative might be taken to cleanse your intestine.
9. What are possible risks and complications of Hernia surgery?
- High fever around 101 deg F
- Problems with urination
- Incisions may become excessively red
- Uncontrollable pain
- Swelling beyond normal levels
10. What is the recovery time after Hernia surgery?
- Light activity can be resumed after 3 weeks from surgery
- Strenuous activities should not be resumed before 6 weeks
11. What are the precautions after Hernia surgery? What can be done to prevent Hernia occurring again?
- Use an ice pack frequently on the surgical incision
- Take the medications on time
- Follow your doctor’s advice
- Frequent short walks should be taken to advance circulation of blood in your system and to prevent the possibility of blood clots
- One should avoid heavy physical activities for at least a week post surgery
- Follow up with your doctor on a regular basis.
- Keep a healthy diet and have a high intake of water.
12. What is the cost of Hernia Surgery?
The cost of hernia surgery in a decent hospital generally ranges between Rs. 50000 to 60000.