SSM Health Medical Minute: Hernia repair

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ST. LOUIS - A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place.

Hernias occur because of weakened areas in the abdominal walls or groin area. The most common type of hernia is an inguinal hernia which makes up about 70 percent of patients. The inguinal canal is found in the groin.

In men, which is the more common gender, it’s the area where the spermatic cord passes from the abdomen to the scrotum. This cord holds up the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains a ligament that helps hold the uterus in place.

Hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain. Hernias can develop immediately or over a long period of time. Causes of muscle weakness include failure of the abdominal wall to close properly in the womb, age, chronic coughing, and damage from injury or surgery. If your muscles are weak other causes are pregnancy, constipation, lifting heavy weight, ascites, sudden weight gain, or persistent coughing or sneezing.

The most common symptom is a bulge or lump in the area along with pain or discomfort in the area, pressure in the abdomen or burning or aching sensation.

Dr. Allison Davis, a general surgeon at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital, says robotic surgery is a minimally invasive approach to hernia repair.

“The majority of hernias are being repaired robotically which is something that patients have sort of heard or been exposed to, but not necessarily or haven’t really seen much of," she said. "That modality has really changed the face of hernia surgery. It gets patients very quickly back to their normal activities. We use small instruments and very precise movements during hernia repair.”

Robotic surgery has a decreased risk of infection, less recurrence rate than laparoscopic, allows the patients to go back to normal activities more quickly, and it’s an outpatient procedure.

For details on hernia repair, click here or call 314-994-7800.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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