Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
- Abdominal hernia facts
- What is an abdominal hernia?
- Where are abdominal hernias located?
- What are abdominal hernia symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of abdominal hernias?
- How is an abdominal hernia repaired and treated?
- What is laparoscopic abdominal hernia repair surgery?
- What about the use of a laser in abdominal hernia repair?
- What kind of anesthesia is used for abdominal hernia surgery?
- Can strengthening the muscles make an abdominal hernia go away?
- What can be done to prevent an abdominal hernia?
- Are abdominal hernias inherited?
- Do abdominal hernias usually develop on both sides of the body?
- Should all abdominal hernias be repaired?
- How can a person determine if a lump or swelling is an abdominal hernia?
Abdominal hernia facts
- Symptoms of a hernia include pain or discomfort and a localized swelling somewhere on the surface of the abdomen or in the groin area.
- There are many different types of hernias.
- Serious complications from a hernia result from the trapping of tissues in the hernia (incarceration), which can result in the damage or death of the tissue.
- Hernia repair and the treatment of hernia complications require surgery.
- Lumps and swelling in the abdominal area should be examined by a doctor.
What is an abdominal hernia?
A hernia is a general term that refers to a bulge or protrusion of a body tissue or organ through the structure that normally contains it. For example, brain tissue can herniate as can discs in the spine. A common herniation in people is an abdominal herniation. The following article will discuss these hernias.
An abdominal hernia is an opening or weakness in the muscular structure of the wall of the abdomen. The peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) protrudes through the opening and this defect causes a bulging of the abdominal wall. This bulging is usually more noticeable when the abdominal muscles are tightened, thereby increasing the pressure in the abdomen. Any activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure can worsen a hernia; examples of such activities are lifting, coughing, or even straining to urinate or have a bowel movement. Imagine a barrel with a hole in its side and a balloon that is blown up inside the barrel. Part of the inflated balloon would bulge out through the hole. The balloon going through the hole is like the tissues of the abdomen bulging through a hernia.
When the lining protrudes it can contain intra-abdominal contents such as the intestines and omentum (the layer of fat that covers abdominal organs). Serious complications from a hernia can result from the trapping of tissues in the hernia -- a process called incarceration. Trapped or incarcerated tissues may have their blood supply cut off, leading to damage or death of the tissue. The treatment of an incarceration usually involves surgery.
About 10% of the population will have an abdominal hernia during their lifetime. The hernias may occur in infants, children, and adults -- both in males and females. However, the majority of abdominal hernias occur in males.
Where are abdominal hernias located?
The most common location for hernias is the groin (or inguinal) area. There are several reasons for this tendency. First, there is a natural anatomical weakness in the groin region which results from incomplete muscle coverage. Second, the upright position of human posture results in a greater force that pushes toward the bottom of the abdomen, thereby increasing the stress on these weaker tissues. The combination of these factors over time breaks down the support tissues, enlarging any preexisting hole, or leads to a tear, resulting in a new hole.
Several different types of hernia may occur, and frequently coexist, in the groin area. These include indirect, direct, and femoral hernias, which are defined by the location of the opening of the hernia from the abdomen to the groin. Another type of hernia, called a ventral hernia, occurs in the midline of the abdomen, usually above the navel (umbilicus). Hernias can also occur within the navel (umbilical hernia).
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