Southern Surgery Specialists is a general surgical practice that provides a range of consultative and operative services in general, robotic, laparoscopic, thoracic and peripheral vascular surgery. Led by Dr. Carlos Montenegro, a board certified general surgeon, the team at Southern Surgery Specialists is dedicated to providing quality surgical care for all patients. Dr. Montenegro provides surgical care exclusively at Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville, South Carolina.
Click here to watch an interview with Dr. Montenegro discuss the da Vinci robot at Coastal Carolina Hospital.
Hernia Causes and Treatment Options
What it is, Causes & Treatments
If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with a hernia, you probably have questions. To help you navigate and learn more about this condition and treatments, here are some quick facts for you.
What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when part of an internal organ or tissue bulges through a weak area of muscle. Most hernias are in the abdomen.
What are the different types of hernia?
- Inguinal, in the groin. It is the most common type of hernia. Men are eight times more likely than women to develop inguinal hernia.
- Umbilical, near the belly button
- Incisional, through a scar
- Hiatal, a small opening in the diaphragm that allows the upper part of the stomach to move up into the chest
- Congenital diaphragmatic, a birth defect that needs surgery
What causes hernia?
Hernias are common. They can affect men, women, and children.
A combination of muscle weakness and straining, such as heavy lifting, can contribute. Some people are born with weak abdominal muscles and may be more likely to get a hernia.
Other causes can include:
- Chronic constipation and straining during bowel movements
- Family history
- Chronic coughing (including coughing that smokers experience)
- Weakened abdominal muscles due to previous surgery, pregnancy, or aging
- Previous inguinal hernia – even if it occurred in childhood, can increase risk of developing another inguinal hernia
Most hernias are diagnosed by a physical exam.
Hiatal hernias are most common in people who are age 50 or older and obese.
Although small hernias may not require treatment except to be watched, most require surgical intervention to repair the opening in the muscle wall. Hernias do not heal on their own. Untreated hernias can be painful and cause other health problems.
Most surgeries can be repaired robotically or laparoscopically on an outpatient, non-emergent basis. However, urgent surgery may be necessary if part of the intestine becomes trapped in the hernia and cannot slide back into the abdomen (an incarcerated hernia) or the contained intestine dies because its blood supply has been cut off (a strangulated hernia).
If you experience frequent pain, bulging or discomfort in your abdomen, near your belly button, or groin area, or immediately after eating, schedule an appointment with your doctor and provide as much information as possible.