What is a hernia?
Who gets hernias?
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
Will my hernia go away?
What about complex hernias?
What is the recovery time?
When can I return to work?
When can I return to recreational or athletic activity?
Can I travel after surgery?
Why choose a hernia specialist?
What if I have existing medical problems?
When and how can I schedule surgery?
What about office visits after my surgery?
What if I have other questions?
A hernia is a small sac containing tissue which protrudes through an opening in the muscles of the abdominal wall. This opening can be a result of a congenital flaw or the opening may be an acquired flaw due to sudden or even repeated stress or strain on the abdominal muscles. A hernia develops when the outer layers of the abdominal wall weaken, bulge or actually rip causing internal organs and tissue to push through the tear creating the typical “bulge” found with most hernia patients.
Any part of the abdominal wall can develop a hernia, however, the most common site is the groin area. With an inguinal hernia, the sac protrudes into the groin and sometimes the scrotum. Umbilical hernias occur through the naval, femoral hernias occur below the groin and incisional hernias occur through surgical scars. A hernia is reducible if the sac of the hernia can be pushed back into place inside the abdomen. Nonreducible, incarcerated, or imprisoned hernias cannot be replaced back in the abdomen, and necessitate surgical repair as soon as possible.
Approximately five million Americans suffer from hernias every year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Most adult hernias result from sudden or repeated strain or stress on the abdominal muscles. Some hernias are congenital, meaning present from birth. Types of activity typically associated with the appearance of a hernia include:
Although a hernia may not worsen for months or even years, an untreated hernia will NOT get better on its own. Hernias that are reducible, are not generally an urgent danger to your health, though they can be painful. A nonreducible hernia can become life threatening if any part of the intestine becomes trapped or strangulated in the opening or weakness. A strangulated hernia requires emergency surgery.
The Hernia Center of Southern California receives numerous referrals from other general surgeons when a hernia specialist is required. Our stateoftheart Tension Free Mesh technique is successful at repairing large, recurrent and complex hernias.
Rapid recovery after surgery is dependent on the location of the hernia, the type of hernia, the repair technique used, as well as your individual, physical health. With the advanced surgical techniques used at the Hernia Center of Southern California, our patients experience considerably less postoperative pain, have fewer restrictions after surgery and recover rapidly. Our patients typically are able to return to everyday activities within DAYS of surgery and can return to work and back to recreational and sport activities within one to two weeks.
After hernia repair surgery at the Hernia Center of Southern California you will be able to rapidly return to normal, daily activities as well as work and athletic activities. We use a “tension free” repair that results in minimal postoperative pain.
Sedentary Work – This includes secretarial work, computer work in the office or home. Work involving sitting, standing and walking with lifting less than 20 pounds. Patients may return to unrestricted work 3 to 5 days after surgery. They may experience minimal pain, that can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications such as Advil®, Motrin® or Tylenol®.
Minimal to Moderately Physical Work – This includes electricians, plumbers, factory workers, mechanics, and workers in retail stores and laborers who lift 20 to 40 pounds. This does not include stockers who lift repetitively. Patients can return to unrestricted work two weeks after surgery. They may return to work in one week with a light duty restriction of no lifting over 20 pounds. You may experience minimal pain, that can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications such as Advil®, Motrin® or Tylenol®.
Heavy Physical Strenuous Work – This work includes construction workers, road workers, heavy duty mechanics, and retail or wholesale stockers or order pullers who stock orders and load and unload pallet jacks throughout their workday. Patients can return to unrestricted work four weeks after surgery. They may return to work in one week with a light duty restriction of no lifting over 20 pounds. They may return to work in two weeks with a work restriction of no lifting over 40 pounds and no repetitive lifting. You may experience minimal pain, that can be managed with overthecounter pain medications such as Advil, Motrin or Tylenol.
We typically recommend and promote patients returning to recreational or athletic activity in stages, but as soon as possible, depending on the type of hernia and surgery performed. Since each patient is a unique individual with their own needs and abilities, we specifically tailor each patient’s progressive return to recreational and athletic activity accordingly. We tend to follow a four week rule for most athletes. Week one: light or easy activities to maintain flexibility. Week two: minimal to moderate activities. Week three: moderate activities. Week four: strenuous activities. Activities are performed four times weekly, gradually increasing in intensity.
A number of our patients travel to the Hernia Center of Southern California from within and outside of the state. Since our surgical techniques are minimally evasive and allow patients to return home the SAME DAY of surgery, traveling for anywhere from 14 hours after surgery is permitted, as long as the patient is not operating a vehicle on his/her own. Patients visiting from farther distances are advised to take up local lodging. After a follow-up visit the day after surgery, these patients are then allowed to travel home by any mode of travel. For assistance with local lodging, please contact our office: 626-584-6116.
We at the Hernia Center of Southern California understand that everyone who comes into our office is a unique individual with needs and circumstances unique only to you. This is why we customize each surgery and recovery to you. Most general surgeons will perform hernia surgery within their practice, completing an average of roughly 25 hernias each year. We perform between 10 and 20 hernia surgeries EACH WEEK. When compared to the HUNDREDS of hernia specific surgeries performed here at the Hernia Center of Southern California annually with the care and techniques we have perfected, is there really any question of who should perform your surgery? When given a choice, most people will go with a specialist, knowing they are receiving safer and more effective hernia repair.
Many patients with controlled, preexisting medical conditions (Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, etc.) tolerate our surgical techniques exceptionally well. Our techniques are performed under a local anesthesia with sedation and not the riskier general anesthesia. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to obtain medical clearance from your primary care physician. But this can be discussed over the phone prior to your visit.
Scheduling surgery at the Hernia Center of Southern California is simple, quick and convenient. In most cases, surgery can be scheduled with 12 weeks (and sometimes less) lead time – and on a date that works best for you and your schedule. If you wish to arrange surgery by phone, or have other specific scheduling questions, please contact our office. For your convenience, we have all the appropriate patient medical history forms available HERE. You may print, complete and either fax or mail them ahead of time to speed up scheduling for you. You will need to have Adobe Reader to view these forms. Get it FREE here:
We offer free postoperative care, even past the global period, for all of our patients. After you have undergone surgery with the Hernia Center of Southern California, we will immediately schedule a followup appointment for you, as close to one week after your surgery as possible. We pride ourselves on attentive patient care and want to do the most we can to make sure you are back to your regular, everyday activities as soon and as safely and comfortably as possible. Any and all postoperative care will be carefully discussed and reviewed with you immediately following surgery.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 626-584-6116 if you have any additional questions about hernias or hernia surgery that were not answered in your visit or our web site. If our staff members are unable to answer any of your questions, you will be contacted by one of our surgeons.