Hernias do not heal by themselves, and if left untreated can sometimes result in serious complications. They only way to effectively correct a hernia, and provide lasting relief, is to have it surgically repaired. Hernias can range from the simple to the complex; the type of surgical treatment required to correct a hernia depends upon the hernia location, size, the patient's age, and the patient’s health status. At the Tulane Hernia Center our surgeons are specialists in the diagnosis and repair of hernias and are skilled in all hernia and abdominal wall reconstruction surgical techniques. The surgical option that is chosen is tailored to meet each patient's needs and reduce the chance of a recurrent hernia; only after a thorough examination can your surgeon determine which surgical approach is best for you.
The majority of hernia surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis and can be done using surgical techniques and materials that allow for a quick return to normal activities. Hernia repairs can be performed using the traditional open surgical approach or using a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) approach. In both surgical options any protruding tissue is moved back into place and the area of weakness is repaired and reinforced with surgical mesh.
Tension-Free hernia repair is considered to be the safest and most effective approach for hernia repair. Rather than pulling the herniated muscle structure together and suturing it closed the tension-free technique utilizes a sterile, woven mesh material made in the form of a patch that goes under or over the area of muscle weakness to provide additional support and strength. The mesh acts as a foundation for new growth of the patient's own tissue, and eventually incorporates into the surrounding area. Hernia mesh is very sturdy and strong, yet extremely thin. It is also soft and flexible enough to allow it to easily conform to the body's movement, position, and size. The result is a strong and effective repair that significantly reduces the chance of a recurrent hernia and allows for a quicker recovery. The physicians and staff at The Tulane Hernia Center, in conjunction with the Tulane University School of Medicine, are internationally recognized experts in the investigation and evaluation of surgical mesh materials and applications.
The traditional, or "open", hernia repair uses an incision to create direct access to the area of weakness. This is an effective and time proven approach that is the most commonly used way of repairing a hernia. During the hernia repair procedure the hernia site is accessed, any protruding tissue is moved back into the appropriate position, and the area of weakness is closed and reinforced with the appropriate type of mesh. The traditional approach is used to repair all types of hernias and may be required depending upon the health status of the patient, or the complexity and location of the hernia.
In some cases the hernia repair can be performed using laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique. With laparoscopy, tiny fiber optic instruments, guided by a high definition camera, are inserted into the abdomen through several small incisions allowing the surgeon to correct the area of weakness without the traditional hernia repair incision.
As the problem of obesity increases in the general population it is not uncommon to see patients with a large hernia and extensive over-hanging skin. The removal of this dense layer of skin and fatty tissue (panniculus) is essential to decrease the pull on the abdominal wall and reduce the chance of a recurrent hernia. In cases that require it, hernia surgery or abdominal wall reconstruction is performed in conjunction with plastic surgery to remove the excess amounts of skin. The Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons of the Tulane Hernia Center work as a team with the hernia specialists to ensure patient convenience and the best possible outcomes.
Tulane Hernia Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-988-1950 firstname.lastname@example.org