General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Frequently Asked Questions about Hernias

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

The two most common symptoms of a hernia are discomfort and a bulge. More about symptoms

Are there any tests I need to undergo to confirm I have a hernia?

No. Physical exam and history are the two best ways to diagnose a hernia. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no test, including a CAT scan and MRI, that is better than your history and a physical examination. The reason it is unfortunate is that occasionally there are patients with a history that may indicate a hernia but none can be detected on physical exam. These patients may require a surgical exploration of the area to exclude a hernia, as a last resort.

Who gets an incisional hernia?

Hernias can occur in anyone who has an incision, most commonly an incision through the abdominal wall. It represents a failure of the layer that gives strength to the abdominal wall (the fascia) to heal.

How did I get a hernia?

There are many possible reasons to explain why a patient has an incisional hernia. These reasons may be broadly classified as mechanical factors, patient factors and technical factors.

Is it related to work?

It is likely that all hernias do not result from work, since many factors can lead to a hernia. However, it is impossible to say with certainly that your hernia is not from work if you did not have one when you started your job. Furthermore, even if other factors were involved in the development of your hernia, lifting could have contributed. Therefore, all hernias are usually treated as worker's compensation injuries.