How do you recognize an abdominal hernia?

Abdominal hernias are common in both the adult and pediatric population, being characterized by the externalization of an abdominal organ or tissue under the skin, through a pre-existing weak point in the muscle wall. Because they do not go away on their own, but grow in size and become complicated, abdominal hernias almost always require surgical treatment, which is also the only effective therapeutic solution. Depending on the case, the size of the hernia and the symptomatology, surgical intervention may be indicated right at the time of diagnosis, but also after a follow-up of the evolution over time. Currently, abdominal hernias can also be treated minimally invasively – laparoscopically or robotically, with operations aimed at reintroducing the herniated organ into the abdomen and strengthening the abdominal wall with a surgical mesh to prevent recurrence.

Abdominal hernia is easily recognized by the presence of a swelling under the skin, which can be more pronounced when the patient is standing or when coughing or sneezing. This protrusion through the skin can be accompanied by pain, which is the most common symptom of abdominal hernia, but also by a burning, stinging or pressure sensation in the affected area.

There are several types of abdominal hernias, but the most common is the inguinal hernia. This represents 75% of all hernias and occurs when part of the abdominal tissue, usually the intestine, penetrates the inguinal canal – that anatomical structure through which, in men, the blood vessels and the spermatic cord pass, and in women, the round ligament.

Another common type of hernia is the umbilical hernia. It can be congenital, which makes it more common in babies and young children, but it can also be acquired. Adults may experience such a medical problem during their lifetime if there are predisposing factors such as, for example, heavy lifting. In umbilical hernia, an intestinal segment protrudes under the skin, in the navel area, hence the name umbilical hernia.

Patients may also experience epigastric, postincisional (after surgery), femoral hernias. If not properly treated, they can be complicated by incarceration or strangulation, the latter being a surgical emergency because in such a situation the vasculature of the herniated organs is stopped. For a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment, medical consultation should not be delayed. The doctor will clinically examine the patient and indicate the performance of imaging tests and investigations – abdominal ultrasound, abdominal CT or lung X-ray.

Patients have access at SANADOR to medical consultations provided by very well-trained doctors with extensive experience, for the correct diagnosis of abdominal hernias. Abdominal hernia repair operations are performed at SANADOR Clinical Hospital, whenever possible, by laparoscopic surgery or robotic surgery. Minimally invasive interventions offer patients the advantage of small incisions, with reduced risk of complications, quick recovery and short hospitalization. For cases where there is an indication for surgical treatment with the help of the robot, the SANADOR Clinical Hospital is equipped with the most advanced robotic system currently existing in the world, through the technology it uses: da Vinci Xi.

It allows the performance of extensive surgical maneuvers, of great finesse, helping the surgeon to approach anatomical structures that are difficult to access in other conditions. And the high-resolution, three-dimensional image, magnified up to 10 times, enables the doctor to see even the smallest anatomical structures, such as thin nerve fibers or tiny blood vessels. In this way, the interventions are carried out in conditions of maximum safety, with very good results.