What is a hernia and what causes it?
Hernias usually occur in the abdomen (stomach) between your chest and hips or may appear in the groin and upper thigh area. Your abdomen contains your intestines (and other organs/structures), and is protected by four layers that make up your abdominal wall; the inner membrane, followed by muscle, which is separated from the outer skin by a layer of fat. When weak areas develop in the layers of muscle in the abdominal wall, the contents of your abdomen pushes through the weak surrounding muscle or connective tissue and a hernia occurs.
Hernias can develop very quickly or over a long period of time, a result of tissue weakness, strain or a combination of both. Common causes include lifting heavy objects/weights, strenuous exercise, damage as a result of injury or following incisions from surgery, constipation (a result of having to strain), or pregnancy to name a few
Hernia Types & Symptoms
At Upper Gastrointestinal Robotic Surgery we provide hernia repair surgery for patients suffering from the following types of hernia:
An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia, often referred to as groin hernia, occurring when part of the intestine penetrates a weak spot in the lower abdominal muscles. This happens at the inguinal canal, a narrow passage through your abdominal wall.
An incisional hernia is a result of a weakness in your abdominal wall, happening at the site of an incision made during a previous surgery. Any abdominal operation requires a cut that is closed with stitches. Scar tissue following surgery is inherently weaker than the normal tissue and this weakness may lead to an incisional hernia.
There is a natural weakness in your abdominal muscles around the umbilicus (belly button), as a result of the way babies develop within the womb. Umbilical hernias are lumps near your umbilicus that cause pain, and can come and go.
An epigastric hernia occurs in the upper part of the abdominal wall, caused by fat or the lining of the abdomen breaking through a weakness in the abdominal wall between the umbilicus and the sternum or breastbone. Pain is caused by the fat being ‘pinched’ by the abdominal wall.
If you suspect that you may have a hernia it is important to seek medical advice. Left untreated, a hernia won’t go away by itself, which is why the only treatment is hernia surgery. Hernias can cause life-threatening complications, so it is important if you are experiencing sudden and intense pain or vomiting you should seek urgent medical attention. Your doctor will assess your hernia and determine the course of action.
There are different types of hernia surgery available. If you would like to discuss hernia surgery please contact us to make an appointment.
Call (03) 9509 4811 or .
Call (03) 9509 4811 or .
Robotic Surgery for Hernias
A/Prof Charles Pilgrim offers his patients the opportunity of robotic assisted hernia surgery using the da Vinci Xi surgical system. This world leading robotic surgery system translates A/Prof Pilgrim’s hand movements in real time, but with a greater range of motion, making it possible for him to operate through a few small incisions.
Robotic groin hernia repair allows A/Prof Pilgrim to repair the hernia with a type of mesh that is like velcro and sticks in place not requiring any other fixation like staples that are frequently used in standard keyhole hernia repairs. This has the theoretical benefit of reduced postoperative pain and there is some new evidence emerging that patients may need less strong pain killers following robotic hernia surgery compared to other approaches.
Incisional hernias can also be repaired with the robotic approach and in these cases the hole through which the hernia has developed can be stitched closed using the robot and then the mesh used to reinforce the repair stitched in place as well (rather than being stapled, again with the reduced theoretical risk of postoperative pain). Closing the defect is also aided immensely by using the robotic approach technically.