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Ask your primary care provider
about a referral to
Baystate General Surgery.
Baystate Health offers comprehensive hernia treatment, from simple to complex, including minimally invasive and robotic surgery techniques. Our specialized team of general and plastic surgeons are the “last line of defense” for the most serious hernia cases, offering the only complex abdominal wall (muscles around the belly) reconstruction surgery in the region.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia happens when an internal organ pushes through a weak spot in supporting muscle or tissue. Hernias can happen anywhere in the body, but most occur within the abdomen (belly), between the chest and hips.
Common Hernia Types
There are many types of hernias, but these are the most common:
- Inguinal hernia (inner groin)
- Incisional (resulting from incision)
- Femoral (outer groin)
- Umbilical (belly button)
- Hiatal (upper stomach)
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
If you have a hernia in the stomach or groin, you might see a noticeable lump or bulge. You're more likely to notice a bulge while standing up, bending down, or coughing – the bulge might disappear when you're lying down. You might also notice:
- Pain while lifting heavy objects
- Pressure or heaviness in the stomach area
- Swelling of the groin
- Pain around the bulge
In some cases, you might not notice any symptoms.
What Causes Hernias?
Hernias are caused by pressure and weakened muscles. Some hernias are associated with aging or with repeated muscle strains due to:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Physical effort or exercise
How are Hernias Treated?
Hernias will not heal without treatment, and can grow larger over time. Every hernia is different, so your care team will recommend the best option for you.
Hernias are treated through a range of highly effective surgical techniques including:
- Laparoscopic (minimally-invasive) surgery, which uses a small camera and a few small incisions (cuts, openings)
- Robot-assisted surgery, which can make complex surgery less painful and shorten recovery time
- Open surgery, which requires longer recovery time but less risk of your hernia coming back
Not all hernias can be prevented. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk:
- Limit the amount of strain on your body
- Don't smoke
- Lift objects with your legs and not your back
- Don't lift weights that are too heavy for you
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Try not to strain when going to the bathroom
If you notice the signs of a hernia, talk to your primary care provider about a referral to Baystate General Surgery. Treating a hernia early can help minimize your discomfort and get you back to the activities you enjoy.