Thursday, June 7, 2012

Epigastric Hernia Surgery Information

When an epigastric hernia occurs, it is because of a weakness in the abdominal muscle. This weak spot will allow for the tissues of the abdomen to push itself through the muscle. Most often times an epigastric hernia is present at birth and hernia repair surgery is often required at a later time. In some cases, the hernia may heal as the abdominal muscles begin to further develop and strengthen. Similar to the umbilical hernia, epigastric hernias are located between the chest and belly button. 

Most often times, epigastric hernias are small and can only be found when the lining of the abdomen pushes its way through that abdominal wall. In more severe cases this is not always the case. Sometimes, portions of a vital organ will actually slip through the weak spot in the wall creating a more serious problem for the patient. 

When epigastric hernias are present in newborns it may be hard to even know that they have one. An epigastric hernia will not be very noticeable unless the child is pushing for a bowel movement or crying. The hernia will show also if the child is engaging in any sort of activity that requires abdominal pressure. Being able to visibly see the hernia makes it easy for doctors to diagnosis the hernia and most times to not need to order follow up testing. 


Unfortunately, an epigastric hernia rarely corrects itself and requires hernia surgery for a full recovery. Unless the hernia is very severe, such as the case if a vital organ has slipped through the abdominal muscle, surgery is often held off on until the child is of an older age. Typically, young babies do not do well in surgery and that is why it is beneficial to wait. Once the patient reaches an older age and is ready to undergo epigastric hernia surgery, it is crucial that doctors and parents make them feel as comfortable and worry free as possible. 

General anesthesia is generally used on patients undergoing epigastric hernia repair and can be performed on an outpatient basis depending on how major the hernia is. Typically the laparoscopic technique is used for this type of hernia. A small camera is inserted into an incision that is made near the hernia and an additional incision is made for the insertion of medical instruments. The herniated tissue is then isolated for the doctor to work with and manipulate into its original orientation. Small hernias will usually stay in their repositioned location, but for larger hernias a piece of hernia mesh will be placed over the repair to secure the weakened area.

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