Your abdominal wall is a thick and strong band of muscle and connective tissues. It wraps your torso and keeps your organs in place, but sometimes, weak points develop in the wall — and those organs begin to press through.

A hernia is an internal injury that forms when your abdominal organs or other tissues poke through your abdominal wall. Though hernias range in size, shape, and severity, one thing is always true: your hernia won’t resolve on its own.

If you have a hernia, you should be under the care of a hernia specialist. Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, and Jarvis Walters, DO, provide expert hernia repair at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, located in Peoria, Arizona. In this blog, we’re exploring why hernias form and what to do if you have one.

Recognizing the signs of a hernia

Most hernias develop in your abdomen or groin. There are a variety of types, but the most common hernias are inguinal. In fact, 27% of men and 3% of women get inguinal hernias during their lives.

Hernias can happen to anyone, but certain factors increase your risk. You may be more likely to have a hernia if you:

  • Are older
  • Are pregnant
  • Struggle with weight
  • Regularly lift heavy objects
  • Have abdominal surgical scars

The most obvious symptom of a hernia is a visible lump under your skin. This lump is usually soft and malleable, which means you can push it back into your body easily. It may disappear when you lay down and reappear when you sit or stand.

A visible lump is often the only noticeable symptom of a hernia. However, some hernias can be painful. Hernia pain is usually described as a heavy sensation or deep ache. The pain may get worse after strenuous activity or if your hernia is growing.

Choosing the correct hernia treatment

No matter the size or symptoms of your hernia, it needs professional medical care. Your hernia can’t heal on its own, and delaying treatment could put you at risk of significant complications like intestinal obstruction or intestinal strangulation.

Fortunately, seeking treatment lowers your risk of complications. If you think you might have a hernia, schedule an appointment with our team.

We can diagnose your condition, then recommend a treatment plan. Most people with hernias have two options:

Watchful waiting

Your hernia won’t resolve on its own, but it may not require surgery immediately. If you’re diagnosed with a small hernia that’s not causing pain, we might recommend watchful waiting.

Watchful waiting means closely monitoring your condition to make sure your hernia doesn’t get worse. If your condition changes, we adjust your treatment plan as needed. In the meantime, we might recommend lifestyle changes, like losing excess weight, to lower your risk of hernia complications.

Minimally invasive hernia repair

If you have a large, painful, or complex hernia, it will most likely require surgery. Surgery is the only way to fix a hernia because the procedure puts your abdominal organs and tissues back into place and closes the hole in your abdominal wall.

Our team specializes in minimally invasive hernia repair with the da Vinci® surgical system. With the aid of surgical robotics, we carefully replace your abdominal tissues and reinforce your abdominal wall to fix your hernia.

Robot-assisted hernia repair is effective, and it lowers your risk of surgical complications because you have smaller incisions, less blood loss, and less trauma to surrounding tissue. After your procedure, full recovery takes about six weeks.

Have a hernia? Don’t ignore it. Learn how minimally invasive surgery can repair the injury and help you avoid more serious complications. Call our Peoria, Arizona, office at 623-227-2581 or send us a message online to get started.

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