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Recognizing a Hernia

Posted on April 20, 2018 in Surgery

Simply put, a hernia is a hole inside the body where there’s not supposed to be one, and when something comes through that hole, you may notice a new or unusual lump or bulge under the skin. Hernia are most common in the groin or anywhere on the abdominal wall, and in some cases they are accompanied by pain that may worsen with physical activity.

Hernias often move, so it may seem as if one “comes and goes.” Sometimes smaller hernias are invisible.

It’s been said that “no surgery is minor surgery if it’s your surgery.” There is some truth to that, but when it comes to hernia repair, you can rest assured that the surgeons at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center know what they’re doing.

“Hernia operations are the most common operations general surgeons do,” general surgeon Joel “Trey” Bradley III, MD, says. “It’s one of the most common operations performed in the world.”

Bradley is also well versed in repairing complex hernias. He says it’s important to find a surgeon who is comfortable with tackling the repair, and who will take the time to explain the procedure and answer questions in a clear and compassionate way.

“So much of what we do can get very technical and complicated,” Dr. Bradley says, “and it can be hard to understand if you are unfamiliar with the terms.”

Your surgeon should never push you, rush you, or disregard your concerns about surgery. “If patients are going to allow you to operate on them and try to fix what’s wrong, I think it’s our responsibility to make sure that they understand what we’re doing,” Dr. Bradley says.

Not every hernia requires surgery, and Dr. Bradley says those hernias prompt what surgeons call “watchful waiting.” The decision to operate is made after considering the symptoms and risks for each individual patient.

“It’s always good to have a discussion with a surgeon if you suspect you have a hernia,” Dr. Bradley says. For help locating a surgeon, or to learn more about surgical procedures at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, visit www.fsregional.com/surgery.