Hernias are not uncommon. Both men and women can develop hernias, which are tears or sacs that develop due to weakened abdominal muscles. Hernias result for several reasons, but most likely because you were born with a congenital weakness, developed a tear due to excessive straining or increased abdominal pressure.

They may be recognized in several ways. If lifting, straining or remaining in the same position, either standing or sitting, for an extended period of time elicits pain, a hernia may be the cause. Some hernias can also present as a bulge under the skin. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor. An extensive exam is necessary in order for your surgeon to decide on the best plan of action specific to your situation.

Hernias can occur in several areas of the abdominal wall where areas of potential weakness exist:

• the umbilicus

• the groin region

• the diaphragm, such as hiatal hernia

• incisional hernias which develop after major abdominal surgery

The location and size can determine the type of symptoms you may present with.

Unfortunately, hernias will not go away on their own and typically require surgery. An estimated 600,000 hernia repair operations are performed annually in the United States. While they can be performed using the more invasive "open" method, many more are now performed laparoscopically. In this situation, the surgeon uses a laparoscope, which is a small, lighted scope inserted through a small incision in the abdominal cavity. This allows the surgeon to easily see the area so he may repair the hernia with a few small incisions. Laparoscopic surgery provides patients with a faster recovery time with less pain and discomfort.

Most hernia repairs today are done with the use of artificial screen material designed to reinforce the natural tissue.

Hernia repairs are performed today as outpatient surgery and require admission to the hospital only for the elderly.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed or suspect you may have a hernia, please contact Dr. Teixeira's office for a consultation.