What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs any time that an internal body part pushes into an area that it shouldn’t. Hernias occur most commonly in the abdominal wall, the pelvis or the torso. One of the abdominal walls primary functions is to hold the intestines and other abdominal contents in place. When a weakness occurs in the wall, some of the contents within the abdomen pushes through the opening under the skin, creating a bulge. This bulge is called a hernia.
When is a hernia an emergency?
Hernias become a medical emergency when the internal organs get stuck and the blood supply is cut off. This is called strangulation and requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of a hernia that needs emergency medical treatment include: severe pain, swelling or redness at the hernia site, hernia bulge growing quickly in size, nausea and/or vomiting, constipation and/or bloating and fever.
- Bulge, pain or swelling
- Pain or discomfort when lifting, coughing or bending over
- A pulling sensation in your groin
- A bulge that may flatten out or disappear when you lie down
What to expect at your initial appointment?
The surgeon will review any tests that you have had done and do an exam. If you have had radiology studies (CAT scan, MRI, PET scan, ultrasound, etc.) outside of the Reading Hospital, please bring them with you to your initial appointment. If you need a referral from your primary care doctor in order to see a specialist, please take care of this prior to your appointment to avoid the need to reschedule.
The doctor will present your options and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. Not all hernias require surgery. In some cases “watchful waiting” might be the recommendation. Most hernia surgeries can be done electively, meaning that they can be scheduled at a time that is convenient to you.
Before your surgery
If you need further tests prior to surgery, our office will coordinate these appointments. Our surgery scheduler will work with you to find a convenient time for your surgery. She will coordinate your “preadmission testing” and review with you what you need to do prior to your surgery.
For any questions regarding your surgery, please call 370-374-7720 ext. 12.
Following your surgery
Your post-surgery experience will depend upon the type of surgery had. Your surgeon will provide you specific post-op instructions and will also coordinate your care if follow up treatment is necessary. See “After Your Surgery” for some common post-surgery concerns. And remember that we are always a phone call away!
These are general recovery guidelines. Because each patient is unique, please always follow the specific instructions given to you at your discharge. You will probably experience the most discomfort in the first week after the operation.
It is common to feel a lump at the site of the operation. This does not mean that the hernia was missed. This lump is a combination of normal fluid and scar tissue forming in this area. It usually goes away slowly over the first month or two following surgery.
Unless otherwise directed, you should follow up in two weeks following surgery for a check of the incision. If you feel that you need to be seen earlier than this, please call our office.