A hernia is a protrusion of an internal organ or tissue through a weakness in the body’s muscular wall. A combination of muscle weakness or strain caused by lifting, weight gain, constipation or straining during bowel movements may cause or contribute to a hernia. If severe enough, normal activities may be painful. The vast majority of hernias occur in the abdomen. They are very common, and affect men and women of all ages.
There are several types of hernias:
Incisional: These occur at the site of a previous incision.
Umbilical: These occur at the navel.
Epigastric or Ventral: These usually occur above the navel below the breastbone.
Inguinal: These occur in the groin and are far more common in males.
Femoral: These occur low in the groin and are far less common overall and seen more often in females.
The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm.
Hiatal hernias are often associated with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Some are paraesophageal (next to the esophagus).
Most commonly treated using minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Treatment is usually elective hernia surgery to repair the opening in the muscle wall. Board certified general surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital perform hundreds of simple and complex hernia operations each year. Our surgeons continue to perfect the use of minimally invasive surgery for hernia repair. Some hernias can be repaired using small incisions and laparoscopic techniques that result in less post-surgical pain and a quicker recovery.
Surgeons at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital are the same surgeons you find at Brigham and Women's Hospital, as well as faculty members at Harvard Medical School. They are also committed to training the next generation of surgeons through our Surgical Residency and Fellowship Programs.