Most people have heard the word “hernia,” but many don’t know what it means, what causes one, or how to recognize the signs and symptoms. It’s important to seek treatment for hernias because they don’t go away by themselves, and, if not treated, can cause dangerous complications.

At Tinsley Surgical, we know that you need information, diagnosis, and treatments to help you stay healthy and feel good. At his office in Wilmington, North Carolina, top vascular surgeon Ellis A. Tinsley, MD, FACS, FSVS provides vascular and general surgery to treat a variety of conditions. Supported by a highly skilled professional team, Dr. Tinsley provides his patients with the latest in treatment options informed by solid medical research.

What is a hernia?
A hernia is a condition in which a part of your body, typically part of your intestine, pushes through surrounding tissue or muscle that usually contains it. This can result in a bulging area, pain, indigestion, and a number of other uncomfortable symptoms. It’s important to seek treatment for a hernia because it won’t go away on its own and can lead to more serious issues.

The most common area in which hernias occur is the abdomen. There are several different kinds of hernias that are named for the specific location where they occur, including inguinal, umbilical, and epigastric. Each type of hernia has different causes associated with it, which can include genetics, pregnancy, age, and being overweight.

Hernia symptoms
In some cases, hernias do not cause any symptoms, and the symptoms that do occur vary depending on the part of the body that is affected. When they do occur, symptoms can include:

  • A lump or bulge
  • Pain when lifting heavy objects
  • Aching sensations
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Although hernias aren’t typically life-threatening, if untreated, they can cause serious complications.

If you think you have a hernia
It’s important for you to get a medical examination as soon as possible if you think you have a hernia. Dr. Tinsley sometimes is able to identify a hernia from seeing the bulging area where it is occurring. In other cases, diagnostic tests such as a CT scan may be necessary to identify the hernia and its location. Once the hernia is diagnosed and precisely located, Dr. Tinsley discusses treatment options with you.

Hernia treatment
Typically, treatment involves surgery to repair the weak area in the tissue that is causing the hernia. In many cases, this treatment can be completed using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.

To complete this type of surgery, Dr. Tinsley makes tiny incisions in the area where the hernia is, then uses a camera with a light attached to it. He inserts this device into the incisions to complete the surgery, reinforcing the weak areas of tissue with a special mesh material. Laparoscopic surgery results in much lower risks and faster recovery times than traditional surgery.

To learn more about hernia diagnosis or treatment, or for other medical concerns, contact our office to set up an appointment.