A hernia occurs when part of an internal organ, most often the intestines, protrudes through an abnormal opening or weakening in the wall surrounding a body cavity.
Hernias can occur in many parts of the body, but are most common in the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is made up of flat sheets of muscle that encase the abdominal organs: the stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys and reproductive organs.
There are five (5) main types of abdominal hernias: (1) Inguinal hernia: a bulge in the groin, (2) Femoral hernia: a bulge in the groin that appears slightly lower than an inguinal hernia, (3) Epigastric (Ventral) hernia: a bulge that appears between the navel and the breastbone, (4) Umbilical (newborn-related) and paraumbilical hernia: a bulge in the navel area, and (5) Incisional hernia: a bulge in the stomach and navel area that is usually caused by prior surgical incision in the area.
A hernia is called reducible if the bulge can be manipulated back into place inside the abdomen.
It is irreducible or incarcerated when the hernia cannot be reduced because adhesions have formed in the hernial sac. It is strangulated if part of the herniated intestine becomes twisted or edematous (swollen), causing serious complications.
Hernias can be a result of weak muscles, congenital weakness, heavy work, weight lifting, or even straining during bowel movements.
What type of hernia is it and is surgery recommended?
How new is this surgery?
Is this the accepted treatment for this diagnosis?
What kind of anesthetic will be used? Are there alternatives?
What are the risks or complications to this surgery?
What is the success rate and will the surgery take care of the problem completely?
What are the likely consequences and alternatives if surgery is delayed or declined?
Are there alternatives to the proposed surgery and what are the risks and benefits of each?
Will work be missed?
What precautions should be followed after the surgery?