My doctor performs surgeries twice a week. By far the most common surgery she performs are hernia repairs. There are at least 1-2 cases per day, so I have seen over a dozen different hernia repairs.
A hernia occurs when the contents of a body cavity bulges out into another area of the body. Sometimes they contain portions of intestines or body fat that are naturally lined to inside the cavity. Hernias are usually harmless, but they can potentially be dangerous if they cut off the blood supply.
There are many types hernias and can occur in different stages of your life. Some form during birth, others during fetal development, existing openings in the abdominal cavity or weakening in the lining, and conditions that cause added pressure on cavities. Some of these conditions are obesity, heavy lifting, coughing, fluid in the cavity, straining during bowel movements, and chronic lung disease.
The signs of a hernia can range from a painless lump or a painful, tender protrusion in the abdomen. The doctor can examine the area of pain by adding pressure to that area. From this the doctor will be able to determine if you do have a hernia.
If the hernia can cause the blood supply to be reduced, the hernia may need to be operated on. If the hernia is irreducible, emergency surgery may be needed. But if the attempt to reduce the hernia succeeds, surgery can be scheduled later.
In a hernia repair surgery, the surgeon makes a cut over the area of the hernia. The bulging tissue or organ is placed back inside the muscle wall, the muscle tissue is repaired, and the skin is closed. In many inguinal hernia repairs, a small piece of plastic mesh is used to repair the defect in the muscle tissue.