Hernia Surgery

What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Hernias are most common in the abdomen, but they can also appear in the upper thigh, belly button, and groin areas. Most hernias are not immediately life threatening, but they don’t go away on their own and can require surgery to prevent potentially dangerous complications.

Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. These hernias occur when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is found in your groin. In men, it is the area when the spermatic cord passes from the abdomen to the scrotum. This cord holds up the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains a ligament that helps hold the uterus in place. This type of hernia is more common in men than in women. This is because a man’s testicles descend through the inguinal canal shortly after birth, and the canal is supposed to close almost completely behind them. Sometimes, the canal does not close properly and leaves a weakened area prone to hernias. About 96% of all groin hernias are inguinal.

Hiatal Hernia
A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into your chest. The diaphragm is a sheer of muscle that helps you breathe by contracting and drawing air into the lungs. It separates the organs in your abdomen from those in your chest. This type of hernia is most common in patients over 50 years old. Hiatal hernias almost always cause gastroesophageal reflux, which is when the stomach content leak backward into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.

Umbilical Hernia
Umbilical hernias can occur in children and babies under 6 months old. This happens when their intestines bulge through their abdominal wall near their bellybutton. You may notice a bulge in or near your child’s bellybuttons, especially when they’re crying.

An umbilical hernia is the only kind that often goes away on its own, typically by the time the child is 1 year old. If the hernia has not gone away by this point, surgery may be used to correct it.

Incisional Hernia
Incisional hernias can occur after you’ve had abdominal surgery. Your intestines may push through the incision scar or the surrounding, weakened tissue. This type is most common in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery.

Femoral Hernia
A femoral hernia occurs when the intestine enters the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh. Femoral hernias are most common in women, especially those who are pregnant or obese.

Sports Hernia
A sports hernia is a strain or tear of any soft tissue, such as a muscle, tendon or ligament, located in the lower abdomen or groin area. Sometimes called athletic pubalgia, sports hernias are usually painful and result from sports that require sudden change of direction or vigorous twisting movements, such as soccer, ice hockey, football, tennis and wrestling – to name a few.
More common in males than females, sports hernias may lead to a traditional abdominal hernia, however that is a different injury. Unlike a traditional hernia, there is frequently no visible bulge in the groin area with sports hernias, making the condition sometimes difficult to diagnose.

Pain from sports hernias can occur at the time of initial injury or develop gradually over time. Most often, pain improves with rest, but it usually returns when sports activity resumes, especially with twisting motions.

Diagnoses of sports hernias usually entails a physical examination performed by a physician, as well as X-ray imaging or magnetic resonance imaging. To help us rule out other conditions, bone scans and other tests may also be administered.

Options

Nonsurgical options for treating sports hernias include a combination of rest and physical therapy. Following the first seven to ten days after injury, rest and icing are recommended. Physical therapy may begin approximately two weeks following injury to strengthen the abdominal and inner thigh muscles and to improve flexibility. Physical therapy usually lasts about four to six weeks and, in many instances, effectively resolves pain, allowing individuals to return to sports activity.

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or cortisone injections, may be prescribed in conjunction with physical therapy to control pain and reduce swelling. When physical therapy is unsuccessful, surgery is usually the next course of action.

“Surgery to repair sports hernias can be performed as a traditional ‘open’ procedure, requiring a long incision, or as an endoscopic procedure, as less invasive option that uses a small camera. The end result from these surgeries is the same since both procedures repair the damaged tissue in the groin.” –Troy Ferguson, D.O.
Dr. Ferguson’s expertise in this area has allowed him to treat several high profile professionals in the sporting arena. We are confident you will be pleased you chose Dr. Ferguson for treatment of your sports related injury.

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About Dr. Ferguson
Troy Ferguson, D.O.
Dr. Ferguson graduated from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his General Surgery Residency program at McLaren Greater Lansing in 2013 and is Board eligible in General Surgery. Dr. Ferguson is involved in the breast clinic at McLaren Greater Lansing and is Director of the Breast Clinic at Hayes Green Beach Hospital. He is a former MSU hockey player. He and his wife Julie have three children.