When an organ outgrows through a weak spot on the membrane wall that envelops all the body cavity’s organs and bulges out of its original anatomical site, the outgrown part is termed a ‘hernia’ which then stressfully presses against the wall membrane.
The body cavity is the voluminous space in the central region that holds organs like the stomach, lungs, liver, etc. However, this condition mostly occurs in the abdomen where the abdominal tissues or the fatty tissues bulge out, causing severe pain.
It usually emerges as a painful or painless lump over the groin or other parts of the abdomen, gradually becoming swollen and tender. Later, it can cause tremendous pain while bending, coughing, or lifting objects.
In its initial stages, the lump may appear to subside or even vanish when you sleep, in which case it is termed as a ‘reducible hernia.’ A hernia is known to occur in either of the four types, i.e., Inguinal hernia, Hiatal hernia, Umbilical hernia, or Incisional hernia depending on its anatomical location.
A moderate hernial breach through the muscle wall doesn’t cause any immediate harm to the body, which is why most hernia cases aren’t treated with urgency. However, if the protruded organ gets cut-off from its blood supply, i.e., incarcerated or strangulated by the muscle wall, it can cause serious adversities and requires immediate medical attention.
What Causes Hernia?
A Stomach Disease based study performed in India showed that Indian men and women are more prone to hernia as they are genetically born with lower muscle mass. However, people who live to the age of 70 and above are also highly prone to hernial development.
Other factors that cause hernia are those which exert excess strain over the abdominal wall muscles or degrade its strength, such as:
Frequently lifting heavy objects
Coughing vigorously and persistently
Abnormal fluids in the abdominal cavity.
Going through pregnancy
Latent effect of an abdominal injury or surgery
Chain Smoking and excess alcohol consumption
Excessive straining during bowel movements
Congenital weakness of muscles
Having a family history of hernia cases
What Are The Symptoms Of Hernia?
Most hernias can be easily diagnosed visually as the protruding lump is quite distinguishing. However, asymptomatic hernias may be hard to detect and require further monitoring of the body. To begin with, here are some of the common symptoms observed in hernia patients:
A painful or painless lump over the abdomen or groin region
swelling and tenderness over the lump
Frequent episodes of severe pain, nausea, and constipation
General illness with no known causes
Pain in a specific area while bending, coughing, or lifting objectsy
Black or purple discoloration over the abdominal region with or without being protruded
How Does Hernia Occur During Pregnancy & Infancy?
Hernia During Pregnancy:
Pregnant women are more prone to inguinal or umbilical hernias that other women. It usually occurs during the second trimester when the womb inflates, pushing the intestines up and backward. As the womb expands, it strains the abdominal muscle wall, increasing the chances of a part of the intestine to breach through the muscle wall. And the risk of such development is more in women who:
Have had an abdominal hernia before pregnancy
Are obese and lack exercise
Have a generally weak muscular structure
Though such hernia cases are rare, it can still threaten the unborn child’s life if the bulge becomes incarcerated or strangulated. Hence, any signs of a hernia during pregnancy should be considered as a medical emergency.
The symptoms of hernias during pregnancy are similar to those experienced otherwise and hence are easier to diagnose and treat.
Hernia In Babies:
Inguinal and umbilical hernias are a common pediatric condition, affecting anywhere from 10% to 25% newborns around the world. As a child develops, its abdominal muscle wall gradually closes the umbilical cord canal connected to its belly. Hence, this spot where the belly button is formed is prone to herniation of intestine or abdominal fluids. It is more likely to occur in babies that are born prematurely or with lower than average weight.
However, most hernias in newborns and toddlers are known to disappear without treatment as the child grows. But the cases where the hernia becomes obstructed or strangulated are still a medical emergency. Some hernia symptoms that are unique to babies include:
Vomiting or constipation problems
Constant crying and fussiness
A bloated, round stomach
Persistent high fever
How Is Hernia Diagnosed?
As mentioned above, a hernia lump can be diagnosed via visual and physical examination. But our surgeon would prefer to go through your medical and family history to evaluate your overall fitness for necessary treatments.
During the physical examination, the surgeon may ask you to bend, stretch, or cough harshly to check for any hernial growth. Most hernia cases are diagnosed this way, without any additional tests.
In rare cases, if you show most symptoms of hernia without any protrusions, our hernia surgeon may ask you to undergo additional imaging tests to confirm any breach in the muscle wall.
How is Hernia Treated?
Since the hernial growth is physical disorientation with no medical cause, the only option to treat it is to physically reposition it via hernia surgery. And since the threat of obstruction and strangulation will persist until the hernia is treated, it is suggested to seek immediate help from a surgeon to avoid any life-threatening adversities. Moreover, as the hernia size increases gradually, the costs and damage of surgical repositioning also increase. Hence, the earlier you seek treatment, the better.Essentially, there two ways to perform a hernia surgery:
Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery:
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) that uses thin surgical equipment along with a laparoscope. It works through tiny key-hole incisions around the affected area, without having to incise the entire region.
A laparoscope is a tiny surgical camera with a thin tube-like design that provides a live video feed of the body’s inside when inserted through one of the keyhole incisions.
The surgery may be performed under general anesthesia. First, to create some space for treating the hernia, the abdomen is inflated by filling them to a substantial size with a harmless gas.
Once the hernia is located, our surgeon makes two or three tiny keyhole incisions around that location and inserts thin tubes called ports through them.
The laparoscope camera is inserted through one of these tubes, and a video feed is established on a monitor. Other surgical tools are inserted through the remaining ports.
The laparoscope camera is inserted through one of these tubes, and a video feed is established on a monitor. Other surgical tools are inserted through the remaining ports. is covered with a special biocompatible mesh designed especially for hernia treatment. This mesh is sutured around the treated area on the muscle wall. Finally, the surface incisions are also closed.
Our hernia surgeon specializes in such surgeries and provides the best laparoscopic hernia treatment in Pune which has minimal risk of damaging the peripheral tissues and organs with lower chances of hernia recurrence
Open Hernia Surgery
Open hernia surgery is the traditional way of treating hernia through a long incision. It is much suited for cases where the hernia bulge is relatively larger or has become strangulated.
It is usually performed under general or regional anesthesia, and the procedure is much straightforward as compared to laparoscopy.
The surgeon first makes a long incision over the hernia. If it has breached through the muscle wall, it is manually pushed back to its original position, and if it’s going down the inguinal canal, it is either pushed back or tied off and removed.
Now, the surgeon closes up the muscle wall opening and reinforces it more firmly with suitable mesh patches.
The long abdominal incision is closed with surgical sutures and bandages.
This procedure allows the surgeon to fix the hernia more precisely and sturdily, and our surgeon is widely regarded for performing highly effective open hernia treatment in Pune.
How Is The Recovery Process After Hernia Surgery?
After laparoscopic surgery, you’ll be monitored for a couple of hours and allowed to leave the same day. Open hernia surgery, on the other hand, involves some downtime. The duration of pain and soreness around the incision wound will vary depending on the type of surgery you had and will be much less and short-termed in laparoscopy. Our surgeon will be better able to guide you in modifying your routine activities such as showering, driving, walking, working, etc. at every recovery stage. You will be provided with all the necessary information regarding your post-surgery diet and medications as and when you attend your follow-up appointments.
Hernia surgeries are generally safe and do not cause any severe risks in later life. However, like any other surgery, there are some treatable complications associated with it, such as:
Side effects of anesthesia
Infection in the exposed wound
Damage to the nerves or organs adjacent to the hernia
Recurrence of hernia
Though persistent smoking may not directly lead to any hernias, it does increase the chances of hernial growths. This is so because smoking can cause vigorous coughing episodes and is known to weaken the abdominal wall muscles. Smoking, in general, is injurious to health anyway, so it’s better to avoid it. Smoking affects tissue healing at a molecular level and it is recommended to stop smoking in the operative period.
Resuming your routine activities after any surgery largely depends on the following factors:
The type of hernia surgery you had
Your overall health and age
Your body’s natural healing abilities
The amount of physical strain associated with your work and general activities
Based on these factors, our hernia surgeon, or any other surgeon, will carefully guide you throughout your recovery process and suggest the activities you can resume at every stage. This is mainly why our Deccan Clinic is widely commended as the best clinic to get a hernia treatment in Pune.