A hernia is a weakness or tear in the abdominal muscles that allows fatty tissue or an organ such as the intestines to protrude through the weak area. Hernias can occur in many places in the body, most often in the groin. Sometimes, a weak spot in the abdominal wall can even be present at birth.
Hernias occur most often in the groin, abdomen, around the navel, or through previous sites of abdominal surgery. For more information, see Types of Hernias.
Each hernia is different, and the symptoms of a hernia can appear gradually or suddenly. Different people feel varying degrees of pain. Some people even feel that something has ruptured or given way. Other symptoms may include:
* Feelings of weakness, pressure, burning, or pain in the abdomen, groin, or scrotum
* A bulge or lump in the abdomen, groin, or scrotum that is easier to see when you cough and disappears when you lie down
* Pain when straining, lifting, or coughing
It is necessary and important to have a hernia repaired through surgery. If a hernia is left untreated, it may increase in size and become more painful. Most importantly, any hernia can lead to more serious, even life-threatening complications. If you think you have a hernia, see your doctor. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis and discuss your treatment options.
Surgery is the only way to cure a hernia. A hernia will not go away on its own. The good news is that today, many types of surgical hernia repairs are available. However, your surgeon may not always recommend it, depending on your medical history. For more information, read Methods of Repair.
The type of anesthesia you receive depends on your general health, the type of hernia repair being done, and the facility where you have surgery. Most laparoscopic tension-free repairs require general anesthesia. Tension and tension-free repairs can be done with general, local, spinal, or other types of anesthesia.
If you have questions about insurance coverage, talk with your doctor and contact your insurance provider. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED REPRESENTS NO STATEMENT, PROMISE, OR GUARANTEE BY (J&J COMPANY AND THIRD PARTY, IF APPROPRIATE) CONCERNING COVERAGE, LEVELS OF REIMBURSEMENT, PAYMENT, OR CHARGE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PAYOR ORGANIZATION WITH REGARD TO LOCAL OR ACTUAL COVERAGE AND REIMBURESEMENT POLICIES AND DETERMINATION PROCESSES.
The recovery period depends on what type of hernia you have, the procedure used by your surgeon, and your normal level of activity. Under many circumstances, you will have your surgery on an outpatient basis and be back at home the same day. You may feel discomfort walking, especially up and down stairs, for the first few days. You also may not be able to drive or do anything strenuous for the first week. Some patients experience minimal pain or discomfort and are back to normal in just a few days. Other patients may take longer to fully recover, especially if their normal routine involves strenuous activity. This topic is best discussed with your surgeon.