A hernia occurs when a hole develops in muscle, allowing part of internal organ – normally the intestines or fat surrounding the intestines – to protrude through it. It is this that produces the distinctive swelling or lump under the skin that is often the first sign that something is wrong.
Hernia Symptoms & Diagnosis
A hernia will normally be apparent when you stand and disappear when you lie down. It can feel uncomfortable and may appear more visible when you cough or strain.
Most hernias do not hurt. In fact, smaller hernias often hurt more than larger ones as the protruding intestine gets squeezed more if the hole is smaller causing pain.
There are several different types of hernia and it is important to get a professional diagnosis from a doctor because while many types of hernia are not painful, they can worsen and become life-threatening if they strangulate.
This happens when the area of intestine that is protruding becomes trapped and the blood supply is cut off. This can cause septicaemia and can be fatal.
A doctor will normally be able to diagnose a hernia simply by examining you however sometimes you may need to have an ultrasound or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Sometimes, because a hernia is not painful, people choose not to have treatment.
However, the symptoms of a hernia will not go away by themselves and may worsen if left untreated.
Hernias can grow as the muscles tear further and there is a risk that they may become strangulated which requires emergency surgery. Repairing a hernia involves pushing the protruding area back into place and closing up the hole to prevent it from protruding again.
There are several different methods of closing and strengthening the muscle wall:
Tension-free mesh inside the abdominal wall is one of the most popular and successful methods of repair. It involves placing apiece of fine sterile mesh over the opening in the tissue.
This is held in place while the incision is closed. Muscles and tendons surrounding the mesh send out fibrous tissue which grows through the mesh, holding it in place and incorporating it into the body’s own tissue. Initially developed to prevent recurrent hernias, this method is now increasingly used in all types of hernia repair. It is a quick operation with no need for general anaesthetic, no lengthy recovery and good long-term outcomes.
Keyhole Surgery or laparoscopic hernia repair uses an instrument called a laparoscope which is passed through two to four small incisions in the abdominal wall.
The abdominal cavity is inflated with carbon dioxide to allow the surgeon to work inside the abdomen using long instruments. The hole is closed using mesh which is stapled in place through the muscle tissue. Recovery is faster than with conventional surgery and there is less post-operative pain.
However, the surgery is difficult to perform and there is a risk of damage to major organs such as the bowel and bladder. It is carried out under general anaesthetic which also carries risks.
Stitching, once the most popular way of repairing a hernia is now used less and less often. Closing up damaged muscle using stitches can cause tension and pain in sensitive tissues as the stitches have to be pulled tight enough to hold a large area of muscle closed.
Recurrence of the hernia occurs in roughly 10% of cases as the internal scar tissue become weakened. Recovery times are lengthy with this procedure and patients normally experience some degree of pain.
Hernia Specialists | Windsor – Surrey
Windsor Bowel Clinic are specialists in hernia diagnosis and treatment including laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
Our specialist consultants will ensure prompt, accurate diagnosis after which we will discuss your treatment options.
Our Consultation Fees are clearly presented here.
To book your consultation, simply contact our team who will be able to find a suitable appointment date and time.