As many as a million hernia repair surgeries are performed each year in the United States, according to data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you have a hernia, you’re probably wondering if you might add to that number.
While hernias won’t heal independently, you might not need surgery immediately. Whether or not to have surgery is based on several factors and a comprehensive physical examination.
With three locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, Desert West Surgery is a trusted provider of state-of-the-art hernia repair surgery, helping patients get the proper care to prevent potential complications. Here, learn when surgery is the best choice and when it’s OK to monitor your hernia for possible problems.
Quick facts about hernias
A hernia happens when an organ pushes through a weak spot in a muscle wall, like the abdominal wall. Hernias can occur in your groin area, around your belly button, or near a surgical incision. A hiatal hernia happens when your stomach protrudes through a weak area in the diaphragm muscle in your chest.
These weak areas can happen for different reasons, including:
- Prior surgery in the area
- Chronic coughing
- Chronic constipation or straining during bowel movements
- Traumatic injury to the area
- Heavy lifting or other very strenuous activity
- Pregnancy, labor, or delivery
Hernias can also occur when age-related changes cause muscle tissue to weaken or break down.
Many hernias form a visible bulge under your skin. These bulges occur when the organ pushes through the usually smooth wall of muscle tissue. Bulges may always be visible, or you might only see them when you lift, cough, or perform another activity that strains the area.
Most hernias also cause pain. If you have a hiatal hernia, you might have frequent heartburn or acid reflux bouts.
Surgery vs. watchful waiting
Sometimes, a hernia is only discovered during an exam for another medical problem, or a hernia may cause very mild symptoms during specific activities. In these instances, monitoring your hernia with regular medical checkups might be OK rather than having surgery immediately. Some hernias can be temporarily relieved using a supportive garment called a truss.
But remember: Your hernia will not go away on its own, and without surgical repair, you could wind up with severe, life-threatening complications like hernia strangulation. Eventually, it’s almost certain you’ll need to have hernia surgery to repair the weakness and prevent further problems.
Fortunately, hernia repair tends to be straightforward, using special techniques to access the hernia, reposition the protruding organ or tissue, and reinforce and strengthen the weakened area in the muscle wall. Many surgeries use a special surgical mesh to provide additional support and strength in the area.
Many hernia repairs use minimally invasive techniques that rely on several tiny incisions instead of a single, longer incision. Our approach depends on each patient’s specific needs, including the type and location of the hernia, the patient’s anatomy, and other factors.
Don’t put off your evaluation
Even a mild hernia can quickly become a serious medical problem without prompt treatment. If you have a hernia or you have symptoms of a hernia, call Desert West Surgery today and schedule a visit at the Las Vegas location nearest you.