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Crystal Whitney with patient.

About Hernias

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a bulge of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in your abdominal wall. 


What is Hernia?

What causes a hernia?

Hernias commonly form by a combination of pressure and an opening or weakness to your muscle.  Tissue or an organ pushes through the opening or weak point or previous surgery.

Hernias can have a tremendous negative impact on health.  They cause pain, disfigurement, and decline in the quality of life.  In addition, they may cause a risk of serious complications.


There are no known guideline to prevent this health problem, but diet and exercise may help
to maintain a healthy weight and keep abdominal muscles strong.

Common types of hernias

Groin Hernia
  • Inguinal
    • Direct
    • Indirect
  • Femoral
  • Obturator
Ventral (Abdominal) Hernia
  • Epigastric
  • Umbilical
  • Incision
  • Spigelian

How is a hernia diagnosed?

  • Physical examination: your doctor will feel for a defect in the muscle when you stand, cough, and strain.
    • The surgeon's physical exam is of vital importance, and often the only test required.
    • The surgeon will pair the physical exam information with the patient's reported symptoms and the impact on their activities of daily living it is then determined if other studies are warranted.
  • Further testing may be necessary based on the complexity of the hernia and the patient's medical and surgical history.
    • Additional testing may include a CT or Ultrasound

Should a hernia be fixed?

  • Most symptomatic hernias should be fixed.
  • An untreated hernia won’t go away without surgery.
  • The decision to have a hernia repair or not is based on several factors that depend on the symptoms as well as the benefits and risks associated with surgery.

What is Hernia Emergency?

What is a hernia emergency?

  • Incarcerated Hernia: An irreducible hernia in which the intestinal flow is completely obstructed.
  • Strangulated Hernia: An irreducible hernia in which the blood and intestinal flow are completely obstructed.
  • Bowel Obstruction: A blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small or large intestine.

Hernia Progression

Hernia Progression