What causes a hernia?
A hernia occurs when there is a weakness or tear in the muscles, most often in the abdominal wall, that allows organs or fatty tissue to protrude through the opening. This can cause a noticeable bulge under the skin as well as pain and discomfort. Symptoms can feel worse when you stand for long periods, or if you strain such as when lifting heavy objects. Hernias are a common ailment and can affect men, women and children of all ages; it is estimated that more than 700,000 hernia repairs are performed each year, and that many other people suffer from hernias that do not get diagnosed and corrected.
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
The signs and symptoms of hernias vary depending upon the location of the hernia, the type of hernia, and the general health of the patient. Some people don’t notice their hernia but most often a person with a hernia will feel a lump, and / or tenderness and pressure, when bending, coughing or straining. The lump may be easier to feel when standing up. In most cases a physician will be able to feel or see a bulge that indicates the hernia location but in some circumstances, particularly when the patient is overweight, the physician may need to run additional tests.
Hernia symptoms can include:
Only your physician or hernia specialist can properly diagnose whether the symptoms that you are experiencing are related to a hernia.
Do women get hernias?
Yes. Women experience hernias as well, although due to anatomical differences a woman's hernia may present differently than a man's.
What if I don't have my hernia repaired?
Some hernias don't present an immediate problem but the natural course of a hernia is for it to enlarge over time. A hernia will not heal by itself and if left untreated can sometimes result in serious complications. The only way to effectively repair a hernia, and provide lasting relief, is to have it surgically repaired.
In some patients with an inguinal hernia or umbilical hernia a piece of the intestine can become trapped (known as incarceration). If the blood supply to the incarcerated area becomes cut off (known as strangulation) it can result in infection or the strangulated tissue may die. This situation is a medical emergency that needs immediate attention.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral to come to the Tulane Hernia Center, although your insurer may require it. Contact your insurer to identify the benefits that are available to you.
How long does the surgery take?
Hernia repairs are generally performed on an outpatient basis and take between 1 and 2 hours, depending upon hernia location and complexity, and the health status of the patient. All procedures are performed in a safe and fully staffed hospital setting under the appropriate choice of anesthesia delivered by a board-certified anesthesiologist.
What is Mesh?
Mesh is a sterile, biologic or synthetic woven material that is placed under or over the area of weakness and is held in place by sutures; the mesh holds back any protruding tissue and creates a “tension-free” repair of the defective area. The mesh material acts as a framework for a patient’s own tissue to grow into, and eventually incorporates into the surrounding area. Mesh is very strong yet is thin and very flexible, which allows it to adapt to the body’s movement and position. Mesh can be used in both open and laparoscopic repair techniques. Tulane Hernia center surgeons use a variety of different mesh material in order to ensure a proper match for each patient's needs.
When can I return to normal activities?
Recovery after hernia surgery depends upon the location and type of hernia, the repair technique used, and the overall health status of the patient. The Tulane Hernia Center utilizes the most advanced surgical techniques and materials available, allowing for a quick return to everyday activities.
When can I go back to work?
Your return to work depends upon the type of work that you do and how physically demanding your job is. You will be examined by your surgeon after your surgery and will review your timeline for returning to work. The tension-free approach to hernia repair allows for a shorter recovery time and reduced post-operative discomfort. Our goal is for you to return to work and everyday activities as quickly as possible.
When can I return to athletic activities?
The Tulane Hernia Center encourages patients to walk and participate in light activity as soon as possible after surgery. The return to full participation in athletic activities depends upon the location and type of hernia, and the surgical technique used, as well as the athletic activity that you wish to participate in. Just as each hernia repair is tailored to the needs of the patient the return to full athletic participation will be unique to each patient as well. Generally, a return to activity is done is stages, with intensity increasing each week after surgery.
Can I travel after surgery?
Many patients come to the Tulane Hernia Center from across the region and from out of state. Generally patients are permitted to travel short distances after they are discharged as long as they are not operating a vehicle. Patients that have a longer distance to travel may be advised to stay overnight in a local accommodation and travel after their post-operative follow-up visit. Our Patient Concierge can provide you with a list of local accommodations that offer a “Medical Rate”. Patients with complex or recurrent hernias may require a short hospital stay or may be recommended to stay several days before traveling. Your physician will identify any possible restrictions during your consultation.
What if I have other questions?
The best way to fully address all questions or concerns that you may have is to schedule a consultation with one of our hernia specialists. After a comprehensive exam they will be able to answer any question that you have and map out a course of treatment.
How do I make an appointment?
The Tulane Hernia Center has offices in two convenient locations: in the Uptown area of New Orleans and at the Tulane Medical Center, located in the Medical District near the French Quarter and the Central Business District. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hernia specialist please contact our Patient Concierge at (504)-988-1950 or toll free at 1-(888)-214-4820, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tulane Hernia Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-988-1950 email@example.com