A hernia is a condition in which an organ becomes displaced and protrudes through a cavity in the surrounding tissue
(fascia) or muscle containing it. It is caused by a combination of fascia or muscle weakness and excessive pressure.
Here, the strain is what pushes the organ through an opening (weak spot).
Improper lifting of heavy loads, chronic diarrhoea or constipation, persistent coughing or sneezing, obesity, smoking and overall poor nutrition can all contribute to hernias. Age, pregnancy, injuries and surgery may result in muscle weakness, which, in turn, leads to hernias.
Hernias may be painless and asymptomatic, or may only cause mild to moderate discomfort. However, apart from umbilical hernias, most types of hernias do not go away on their own, and left untreated, can lead to serious complications.
A hernia may be repaired by two types of hernia surgery:
Traditionally performed via open surgery, herniorrhaphy involves creating an incision over the site of the hernia. The displaced organ is manually placed back to its normal position, and the opening from which the organ protruded is stitched closed. The initial incision is also sutured and applied with dressings to facilitate healing. Herniorrhaphy may be done laparoscopically.
For larger hernias where the displaced organ cannot be pushed back through the cavity, the hernial sac may be repaired by covering it with a surgical mesh. This process, called hernioplasty, stitches a mesh patch made of animal tissue or polypropylene over the cavity. This patch will then be used by the damaged or weakened tissues and muscles as a support during regrowth. Similar to herniorrhaphy, hernioplasty can be performed via laparoscopic surgery.