What Are the Most Common Types of Pediatric Hernias?

Hernias, which are defects in your abdominal wall that allow tissue or fat to bulge through, typically occur in children as inguinal or umbilical hernias. They’re often present due to birth complications such as premature birth.

There are two types of inguinal hernias. The most common type in children, indirect inguinal hernias, generally occurs as a result of an opening in the abdominal wall being present at birth. Direct inguinal hernias develop more rarely, as they usually result from physical overexertion due to sports or lifting heavy objects.

The other most common form of childhood hernia, umbilical hernias, occur in the spot where the umbilical cord was previously attached to the belly button. They develop when the muscles fail to close around this spot after the umbilical cord falls off.

Both inguinal and umbilical hernias may cause a pain or tenderness in the belly button or groin, as well as a bulge in this area that grows in size as a result of laughing, crying, or physically straining. However, more severe symptoms such as bloating, fever, severe and sudden abdominal pain, and nausea may indicate that the hernia has become strangulated.

A hernia can become strangulated after an extended period of incarceration, a condition in which part of the intestine becomes trapped in the abdominal opening. This can lead to the loss of that part of the intestine, as well as any involved testicles or ovaries.

Hernias occur most commonly in children who are assigned male at birth, are born prematurely or underweight, are of African descent, and who experience conditions such as undescended testicles, cystic fibrosis, or a genetic syndrome that increases the risk of a hernia.

A pediatric hernia is typically treated through surgery, during which your child’s surgeon will push the bulging tissue back into its proper position and re-seal the opening with stitches. This can be performed as an open surgery (involving a small incision in the affected area) or as laparoscopic surgery (involving several tiny incisions in the abdomen and groin).

To schedule an appointment with a doctor and begin treatment for your child’s hernia, you can schedule an appointment at Forest Hills Pediatric Specialists by calling (718) 704-5020 or at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Pediatric Surgery Division by calling (718) 670-3007.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Flushing Hospital’s Hernia Center Offers Expert Care to Those in Need

Flushing Hospital Medical Center now offers a comprehensive center to diagnose and treat a variety of forms of hernias.

A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weak spot or an opening in the muscle or tissue that is supposed to hold it in place.  There are many different types of hernias, including inguinal, hiatal, umbilical, and incisional.

 

  • An inguinal hernia occurs when the intestines push through the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal located in the groin. . This is the most common type of hernia and it is more common in man than women.
  • A hiatal hernia develops when part of the stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. This type of hernia almost always results in gastroesophageal reflux. Hiatal hernias are most common in adults 50 years or older.
  • Umbilical hernias present in children and babies under six months old. They occur when the child’s intestines bulge through their abdominal wall, near the belly button.  An umbilical hernia is the only type that can go away on its own as the babies muscles get stronger.
  • An incisional hernia can take place after abdominal surgery. During this time, the tissues and muscles are typically weak and the intestines may push through an incision scar.

Hernias can develop quickly or slowly build over a long period of time. There are many factors that can contribute to the onset of a hernia. One of the most common reasons is straining a muscle while lifting heavy weight. Other factors include: being pregnant, being constipated, sudden weight gain, or persistent coughing or sneezing.

The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge in the affected area. They are most identifiable through touch, especially when standing up, bending over, coughing, or crying (in babies). Other symptoms include pain in the affected area, weakness, or a burning sensation. Hiatal hernias will often result in acid reflux, chest pain, and possibly difficulty swallowing.

Your doctor can diagnose a hernia through a physical examination. Sometimes an x-ray or endoscopy is necessary. Treatment options for your hernia depend on the size and severity and can include lifestyle changes, medication or surgery.

Lifestyle changes can include altering your diet, exercising to increase muscle strength, avoiding lifting heavy objects and maintaining good posture.  Medications may be helpful in the treatment of a hiatal hernia. In most cases however, surgery may be required.

Hernia procedures can be done using open or laparoscopic techniques and Flushing Hospital’s new Hernia Center offers a wide variety of options for both methods. Our expert staff has a great deal of experience in this field with excellent outcomes. Many of the procedures can be performed with minimally invasive techniques, including the utilization of our da Vinci Robotic Surgery System.

For more information about Flushing Hospital’s Hernia Center, please call 718-670-3135.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

A Robot Is Removing My Hernia

A hernia is the protrusion of an organ or tissue through the structure or muscle that usually contains it. A hernia occurs immediately or over a long period of time when a combination of muscle strain and weakness is present in the body.

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.

Factors that strain your body and may cause a hernia, especially if your muscles are weak, include:

  • Being pregnant, (which puts pressure on your abdomen)
  • Being constipated, which causes you to strain when having a bowel movement
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Fluid in the abdomen, or ascites
  • Suddenly gaining weight
  • Straining with urination
  • An Underlying malignancy
  • Persistent coughing or sneezing

Common symptoms of a hernia include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the affected area, especially when bending over, coughing, or lifting
  • Feeling weakness, pressure or heaviness in the abdomen
  • A bulge or protrusion which enlarges with straining and resolves when lying down
  • Feeling a burning or aching sensation at the site of the bulge

If you suspect that these symptoms could be a hernia, visit your doctor for an examination of the affected area and be sure to detail all symptoms. If the results reveal a hernia then the next step would be surgical repair. Whether or not you need surgery depends on the size of your hernia and the severity of your symptoms. During hernia surgery, the weak tissue in the wall of the abdomen or groin is repaired with a mesh.

Technology in surgery is constantly evolving with the intent of increasing positive clinical outcomes and improving patient safety and recovery. One of the greatest medical advances to occur in the pursuit of these goals was the development of surgical robots. Flushing Hospital Medical Center in its dedication to providing patients with the most technologically advanced tools in health care, acquired the da Vinci Surgical Robot. This tool allows for a minimally invasive surgery offering many benefits including, less pain, faster healing time, shorter hospital stay and less risk of infection.

If you have been diagnosed with a hernia and are looking to have the procedure done using the da Vinci surgical robot, Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers this procedure.

For more information about robotic surgery or procedures performed by our surgeons, please contact Flushing Hospital’s Department of Surgery at 718-670-3135.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Living With a Hernia

Unless you’ve suffered from one, most people only know about hernias from the Weird Al Yankovic song (“Living With A Hernia”).  Hernias are caused by pressure on an opening or weakness in the wall of muscle or connective tissue of the groin, belly button or upper stomach that allows a hernia sac (like a balloon) to protrude.  An increase in abdominal pressure pushes the hernia sac and its contents (organ or tissue) through the opening or weak spot.  The muscle weakness may be present at birth or develop at any age.  The most common types of hernia are:

ThinkstockPhotos-473611872. Inguinal (inner groin) –   fat, intestines, colon or bladder may protrude through the abdominal wall. About 96% of all groin hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.

. Incisional (resulting from an incision) —  intra-abdominal organs push  through the abdominal wall at the site of previous abdominal surgery. This type is most common in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery.

. Femoral (outer groin) — occurs when the intestine enters the canal carrying the femoral vessels into the upper thigh. Femoral hernias are most common in women, especially those who are pregnant or obese.

. Umbilical (belly button) — part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall at or near the navel. Common in newborns, it also commonly afflicts obese women or those who have had many children.

. Hiatal (upper stomach) — when the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes. These hernias cannot be seen or felt from the outside and majority do not require surgery

Anything that causes an increase in pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia, including lifting heavy objects without proper support and coughing or sneezing.  Obesity, poor nutrition, smoking and prior abdominal surgery, can all weaken muscles and make hernias more likely.

Surgery to repair a hernia is one of the most commonly performed surgeries. Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers minimally invasive robotic procedures using the da Vinci robotic system. Hernia surgery performed using the robot allows for faster healing time, less scarring and shorter hospital stays.

If you are experiencing hernia discomfort and would like to make an appointment with a urologist, please contact the Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.