News & Events

Knowing If You Have A Hernia

Date: 07/01/2021

As a surgeon working for Northern Light Surgical Specialists Daniel Hetherman, MD performs general surgery with a focus on minimally invasive and robotic procedures. One of the most common procedures involves hernia repair.

But what exactly is a hernia, and what are the symptoms? “There are different kinds of hernias, but in general a hernia is a gap in the muscles of the belly wall. Problems occur when abdominal contents, like abdominal fat, push through the gap and cause symptoms,” explains Dr. Hetherman.

The most common symptom is a bulge or lump in the groin or the umbilical region. This can cause pain or discomfort. Sometimes the symptoms are worse with activities such as lifting, straining, sneezing, or coughing.

A few of the common types of hernias –

·       The most common type of hernia in men are called inguinal hernias. An inguinal hernia is located in the groin area.

·       Another common type of hernia for both men and women is the umbilical hernia, near or in the belly button.

So, if you notice a small bulge in your abdominal area that feels uncomfortable or even painful when you do certain activities, your first step towards solving the problem is to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. Most hernias can be diagnosed with a simple physical exam.

If there is a hernia present, the primary care provider will make a referral to a surgeon like Dr. Hetherman for hernia repair.

The bad news is that a hernia in an adult cannot heal on its own. If not repaired, the hernia can become larger and more painful. The good news is that hernias CAN usually be repaired. The primary methods are open surgery or minimally invasive surgery.

“Incredibly, minimally invasive surgery is done through small incisions to allow for a faster return to normal activity. Oftentimes, we can utilize robotic technology that is controlled by the surgeon performing the procedure,” states Dr. Hetherman, who graduated from the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.

In fact, most hernia operations are performed as simple day surgery, where a patient doesn’t have to spend any time in the hospital and will be able to return to normal activity after only a few weeks.

Your primary care provider can refer you to Northern Light Surgical Specialists for outpatient hernia surgery, so don’t hesitate to take the steps necessary to repair your hernia and get back to feeling pain free and healthy!

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