The number of hernia surgeries is high in the United States — about a million each year. What this statistic tells us is that surgery is the most common, and preferred, solution for repairing a hernia, but it isn’t the only option.
To help you better understand your treatment options for a hernia, our experienced team here at Advanced Surgeons explores the different types of hernias, why we might recommend surgery, and whether this approach is your only option.
“Hernia” is a catchall term that describes a condition in which tissue protrudes through a weak spot in another tissue. To give you an idea about what we’re referring to, let’s take a look at some of the more common types of hernias and their treatment options.
This type of hernia is the most common and occurs when tissue (often intestine or fat), bulges through a weak spot in the lower wall of your abdomen, usually in your groin area.
Inguinal hernias represent 80% of all hernia surgeries, and they develop more often in men than in women. Lifetime prevalence for an inguinal hernia in men is 27% versus just 3% in women.
This type of hernia typically needs surgical repair, as you run the risk of a piece of your small intestine becoming trapped outside your abdominal wall, which can lead to a dangerous intestinal blockage.
If you’ve had stomach surgery, your chances for developing an incisional hernia are higher because the surgical site can leave your tissues weaker and more prone to hernias. In fact, 15-20% of people who undergo stomach surgery develop an incisional hernia.
Surgical repair of this type of hernia depends upon the degree of the hernia. If it’s small, we may recommend monitoring the condition closely before taking a surgical step. If it’s larger and causing symptoms, surgery may be the best option.
Women develop femoral hernias more often than men, and they occur when tissue pokes through a weak spot in the abdomen or inner thigh.
Since this hernia develops near your femoral artery, we do recommend quickly resolving the problem through surgery.
With a hiatal hernia, a portion of your stomach bulges through your diaphragm. If you don’t experience any side effects, we may recommend a wait-and-see approach. But if the hiatal hernia causes symptoms, such as acid reflux, surgery might be a good idea.
These hernias usually develop in 20% of infants under the age of 6 months, and in most cases, the hernia resolves on its own. If the hernia doesn’t go away after a few years, we can discuss whether you need surgery.
The bottom line is that it’s impossible to say here whether you would benefit from surgery. After reviewing your hernia and any symptoms it causes, we can make a better diagnosis and treatment plan.
To get started on figuring out the best approach for your hernia, contact one of our locations in Valhalla, Carmel, or Poughkeepsie, New York, to set up a consultation.