An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
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While Dr. William Brown can repair hernias, he’d prefer people do what they can to prevent them. Often, unless you’re avoiding a hernia from recurring, you don’t think much about what you can do to prevent an inguinal hernia. Luckily, much of the advice is common sense and easy to follow. Chances are that you’re already doing much of what you can.
This isn’t the 1950s anymore. We know smoking causes death from serious problems with your cardiac and respiratory systems. But smoking also attacks collagen, making you look older than you really are and weakens your muscles that depend on collagen to remain strong. Weak collagen leaves you vulnerable to an inguinal hernia because your muscles tear more easily if you’re a smoker.
The Bassini Technique: A Classic Non-Mesh Way to Repair Inguinal Hernias
Dr. William Brown, the renowned inguinal hernia repair surgeon, has never wavered from his stance against repairing hernias with mesh. He performs non-mesh hernia repair to avoid the poor results and complications that come with using mesh. When mesh binds to nerve endings, which is common post procedure, chronic pain results. When mesh becomes stiff, fibrosis occurs causing more damage to the herniated area. When mesh affects nearby blood vessels or organs, problems arise that could mean another surgical procedure, or worse, nothing can be done to correct the situation. Considering the risks, Dr. Brown strongly recommends non-mesh hernia repair, like the Bassini, Shouldice, or Desarda technique.
Of all the ways to repair an inguinal hernia with the local soft tissue, the Bassini method is a classic inguinal hernia repair technique that has been used by surgeons for over…
To Use or Not to Use Mesh, That is the Question
When a surgeon chooses to use mesh, the mesh (or plastic) is used as a patch to cover the hole in the muscles. The mesh can be can be inserted with a laparoscope, so that it patches the hole on the inner surface or the deep side. Or the mesh can be placed through an incision in your skin, in which case the mesh or patch is on the outside of the hole in the muscles.
Either way, mesh repair leaves a foreign object in your body. A layer of scar tissue developments around the mesh. The scar tissue causes the mesh to become stiff and hard, thus unable to move with your body when you bend and twist. It’s the perfect storm for causing pain. Severe pain can also result when a nerve or the spermatic cord becomes…
Determine The Right Time to Undergo Hernia Repair Surgery
Most of the time hernias do not need immediate repair. There are three exceptions.
- If you are diagnosed with an inguinal hernia or femoral hernia, and your doctor determines that your intestines have become incarcerated, it must be repaired immediately. An incarcerated hernia means that your hernia cannot be pushed back into your abdomen (don’t try this unless your doctor shows you how). Basically, it’s stuck and causes serious problems, such as blocked intestines, more severe pain than usual with the hernia, nausea and vomiting.
- If your inguinal hernia becomes strangulated, it must be repaired immediately. Strangulation occurs when a loop of intestine in the hernia is pinched or strangulated, and the blood supply to that part of your intestine decreases or stops altogether. A strangulated hernia results in greater levels of pain, nausea, vomiting and a fever. You might have…
Are Smokers More Prone to Inguinal Hernias?
Smokers, listen up. There are numerous reasons why you should quit smoking. You’re aware, so we won’t bother you with the benefits to a healthy heart and lungs. We’ll stick to how smoking affects inguinal hernias – your odds of getting one and your recovery from one.
Men, not only are you eight times more likely than women to have an inguinal hernia, but if you’re a smoker, your odds increase even more. Nicotine and other toxins found in cigarettes, chewless tobacco and e-cigarettes degrades collagen. Collagen provides the strength of the abdominal wall. Thus smokers with their damaged collagen have a much weaker abdominal wall. Collagen is also a major component of the healing tissue after surgery. So not only smokers more likely to have a hernia, but are more likely to have the surgery to repair the hernia fail.
How a Doctor Determines What Type of Inguinal Hernia You Have
Your suspicions have been confirmed and you’ve been diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. Before you and your physician can move forward with repair and recovery, the first step is determining what type of inguinal hernia you have.
Inguinal hernias aren’t always easy to diagnose with just a physical examination. Sometimes, an ultrasound or MRI is required to make an accurate diagnosis. That test should be given while you’re standing up, not laying down. Or, in medical terms, the ultrasound works best when you’re increasing pressure in the intra-abdominal area with the Valsalva maneuver.
Once testing is complete, your physician will determine you’re dealing with one or more of three types on inguinal hernias.
Indirect Inguinal Hernias
Indirect inguinal hernias also are called congenital inguinal hernias. In the womb, the testicle starts out in the pelvis. Just before a…