Hernias can happen in patients of all ages. Though they may not always be a life-threatening condition, it’s important for patients to understand that hernias do not heal on their own. 

What may begin as a slightly bothersome, even asymptomatic, problem — if ignored, can develop into a medical emergency. 

Exactly what is a hernia? 

A hernia is a hole in the abdominal lining that may allow nearby organs or tissues to stick out. In emergent cases, these organs or tissues can even get stuck in the hernia. This can lead to urgent medical conditions, such as a bowel obstruction.

Hernias do not always have a direct cause. Some people simply have a weaker stomach lining than others. In fact, some babies are even born with hernias. Other times, a hernia can be caused by anything that increases pressure on the abdominal wall, like strenuous activity or heavy lifting. 

As with many medical conditions, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as obesity and smoking tend to increase an individual’s risk for a hernia. 

“Hernias are not something you want to go left untreated. With robotic surgical options, repairing a hernia isn’t the extensive procedure it used to be. Today, we can offer the same procedure using minimally invasive techniques instead of relying on a large incision and keeping patients in the hospital for several days with pain and prolonged recovery. With robotic hernia repair, they experience much less pain to the point where they go home the same day, have a quicker recovery, and return to work in a couple days.”

Richard Bloomberg, MD

Chairman & Director of Robotic Surgery, Kenmore Mercy Hospital

How is a hernia treated? 

Hernia repairs are one of the most common procedures performed by general surgeons — not just in the Catholic Health system, but in hospitals across the United States. Any bulging or displaced tissue needs to be returned to its normal location, and weakened stomach lining often requires some form of supportive material. 

However, advanced techniques such as robot-assisted and minimally invasive approaches to surgery have really revolutionized what a hernia repair is like for the patient. With these, patients tend to experience quicker recovery times and lower complication rates. 

Find Out More About Hernia Repair

If you or someone you love is experiencing abdominal pain or discomfort due to a hernia, consider scheduling a consult with a hernia specialist.