Dennis L. Streeter, D.O., F.A.A.O.S
General Surgeon & BioTE Certified Provider located in Merrillville, IN
A hernia occurs when an internal organ or other internal tissues protrude through a weak area in the muscle that’s meant to contain it. Although there are many different types of hernias, most hernias develop within the abdominal cavity, or the area between your chest and your hips. Inguinal hernias, which affect the groin region, account for more than 70% of all hernia cases. Board-certified surgeon Dr. Dennis Streeter in Merrillville, Indiana, offers hernia repair surgery to patients in northwestern Indiana. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.
Hernia Surgery Q & A
What is an inguinal hernia?
An inguinal hernia happens when internal tissue, such as fatty tissue or a portion of your intestine, pushes through a weak spot in your lower abdominal wall. As this escaping tissue extends into your groin alongside your public bone, it causes a visible bulge that becomes more obvious when you’re standing. Other common symptoms include:
- Pain in your groin when you cough, bend over, or lift something heavy
- Weakness or substantial pressure in your groin
- A burning, aching, or heavy sensation at the bulge
What are the risks of having a hernia?
An inguinal hernia isn’t necessarily hazardous to your overall health, but it won’t improve or disappear on its own. Left untreated, inguinal hernias usually grow larger and become even more uncomfortable; they can also lead to painful or even life-threatening complications.
This occurs when part of your intestine becomes stuck in the inguinal canal, resulting in a painful lump in your groin as well as nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
If part of your intestine becomes trapped in such a way that cuts off its blood supply, you’ll need emergency surgery to prevent tissue death.
Why is hernia surgery important?
Because inguinal hernias don’t get better or go away on their own, surgery is the only way to repair them and avoid potential complications. If you have a hernia that’s painful or seems to be getting bigger, Dr. Streeter will probably recommend that you undergo standard hernia repair surgery.
To repair a hernia, Dr. Streeter gently repositions the bulging tissue back behind the abdominal wall. He then uses sutures, or internal stitches, to strengthen and reinforce the wall and help prevent hernia recurrence.
This straightforward procedure is performed using general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. It can often be done laparoscopically, or through tiny incisions and aided by a slim, lighted tube that has a camera on its end.
What can I expect after surgery?
Most patients are up and out of bed within an hour of having hernia repair surgery. While most people can also head home the same day, it’s necessary for some patients to stay in the hospital overnight. If you have trouble passing urine post-surgery, you may require a catheter to help drain your bladder.
Dr. Streeter will give you specific post-procedure instructions to help facilitate optimal healing and avoid complications or setbacks. These may include:
- Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for a few weeks
- Avoid any activities that increase pressure on your groin or belly
- Roll to your side and use your arms when moving from a reclined to a seated position
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat fiber-rich foods to prevent constipation
- Try to avoid sneezing or coughing too forcefully
To make sure you’re healing properly, you’ll have a follow-up visit at Dr. Streeter’s office within a week of your surgery.
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