What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in the body. Most hernias occur when a piece of intestine slips through a weakness in the abdominal wall, creating a bulge you can see and feel. Hernias can develop around the navel, in the groin, or any place where you may have had a surgical incision. Some hernias are present at birth. Others develop slowly over a period of months or years. Hernias also can come on quite suddenly.
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What is an Umbilical Hernia?
Another common type of hernia is an umbilical hernia, which can occur in both children and adults. Incarcerated umbilical hernia is a subtype.
What does a hernia feel like?
A hernia can be both seen and felt. You may notice it as a lump in your abdomen or groin that may or may not disappear when you lie down. You also may be aware of a dull aching sensation that becomes more pronounced when you are active.
Why does a hernia hurt?
The discomfort you feel–especially when you cough, lift something heavy, or stand for a long time–comes from the constant pressure of tissue pushing its way through the weakened spot in your body. As more tissue pushes through the weakened area, the feeling of pressure increases. A hernia that develops or worsens quickly can produce a sudden intense pain as it enlarges.
Who gets hernias?
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately five million Americans have hernias. Hernias in the groin area (inguinal hernias) are most common in men, primarily because of the unsupported space left in the groin after the testicles descend into the scrotum. Hernias in the femoral area, at the top of the thigh, occur most often in women. They commonly result from pregnancy and childbirth.
Will my hernia go away?
An untreated hernia will not get better on its own, although it may not get worse for months or even years. A hernia that can be easily pushed back or flattened (reducible hernia) is generally not an immediate danger to your health, although it can be painful. A non-reducible hernia, however, can become life-threatening if part of the intestine gets trapped, or strangulated, in the opening. This is also called an incarcerated hernia and in an emergency situation may require immediate surgery.
What can I do to feel better?
Limiting activity or eliminating excess weight may provide temporary relief. Wearing a truss or binder has also offered temporary relief. The only cure, however, is surgery. There are two reasons for hernia surgery: to correct or prevent a dangerous strangulated hernia, and to eliminate the pain that my be interfering with normal activity. Although there are always risks and side effects associated with surgery, today’s surgical techniques provide patients with treatment options that offer minimal post-operative discomfort, speedy recovery, and lasting relief.
How soon after surgery can I return to my normal activities?
The repair is “tension-free”, minimizing restriction of activity. Normal exertion will not jeopardize the repair. Patients are advised to progress at their own pace, getting back to normal activities as soon as they wish.
What are the chances my hernia will recur?
Modern tension-free surgery with the Bard mesh PerFix plug reduces the risk of hernia occurrence. The chance that a hernia will reappear after tension-free surgery is typically less than one percent.
What about complications?
Bard mesh has been used safely for hernia repair for more than thirty years. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is some risk of complication.