Hernia Program | Surgical Services | Loyola Medicine

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Hernia Program

The experienced board-certified hernia surgeons at the hernia program work as part of a multidisciplinary team, partnering with advanced practice nurses, reconstructive surgeons, gastroenterologists and nutritionists. We offer open and minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures to treat all types of hernias.

Comprehensive Surgical Care for Hernias

The team  has advanced training and/or fellowship training in treating every kind of hernia condition, whether basic or complex. Our surgeons, who are all members of the American Hernia Society, work as part of a multidisciplinary team, partnering with advanced practice nurses, reconstructive surgeons, gastroenterologists, wound specialists, pain specialists, sports medicine specialists, physical therapists, weight loss specialists and nutritionists to provide comprehensive care for different types of hernias.  

After your surgery, we will guide you through the recovery process with pain management, medication, rehabilitation and physical therapy. We also offer treatments and education to help prevent your hernia from recurring.  Ongoing treatment with the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care is also available for patients with hernias linked to obesity.  Working with our weight loss specialists and nutritionists can reduce recurrences of hernias and improve a patient’s overall health.

What Conditions are Treated with Hernia Repair?

We treat several types of hernia, including:

  • An incisional hernia is caused by a surgical incision that does not heal properly.  There may or may not be a noticeable bulge on the surface of the skin with an incisional hernia.  It is treated by reconstructing the abdominal wall.
  • ventral hernia is a type of abdominal hernia that develops from a birth defect or after a surgical incision in the abdomen if not healed properly.  There is a noticeable bulge on the surface of the skin.  Ventral hernias are treated by reconstructing the abdominal wall.
  • An umbilical hernia forms when part of the intestine pokes through abdominal muscles near the navel.  It can be found in both adults and children.  Surgeons at the hernia program treat adults and refer children to the pediatric surgery team at the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital.
  • An inguinal (groin) hernia is a protrusion in the area between the lower part of your abdomen and your thigh. It forms when the muscles of your lower abdomen are weakened and some tissue, often part of your intestines, pushes through the lining of your abdominal wall.
  • hiatal (diaphragmatic or sliding) hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes up through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm that separates the abdomen and chest cavity. The condition can lead to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and in some cases leads to serious stomach problems. Learn more about hiatal hernias.
  • A paraesophageal hernia is another type of hiatal hernia where part of your stomach pushes up through the diaphragm and besides the esophagus.  It is a rare form of hernia but often goes unnoticed.  The condition can lead to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease and in some cases leads to serious stomach problems.
  • Athletes who play hockey, soccer, tennis and other sports are more likely to experience a sports hernia, a painful inguinal hernia that’s caused by overuse of the groin muscle.
  • All types of pediatric hernias are treated by the expert pediatric surgery team at the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital, a 98-bed, full-service hospital focused on child patients and their families.  Loyola’s pediatric surgeons are specially trained in surgical techniques and tools specifically made for children, providing care for your youngest patients with great precision and compassion.

How We Diagnose Hernias

A hernia usually is diagnosed through a physical exam and a conversation with your physician about your medical history. Your doctor will ask if you’re feeling pain and when it started, and then will look for a bulge in your groin or abdomen. You may be asked to stand and cough to make the hernia appear. Some additional tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, may be used to confirm a diagnosis.  After the hernia diagnosis, our team works with you and your primary care physician to develop and complete a plan for repair.

What to Expect before Hernia Repair

Symptoms often go unnoticed with a hernia but may include painful swelling or bulge from your abdomen or chest.  If you are experiencing acute pain or vomiting, please visit your nearest emergency department.  When you call our program, you will be asked a few additional questions about your medical history and any prior surgeries you might have had. We do this to make sure you see an appropriate surgeon for your case.  

Ongoing Treatment and Recovery after Hernia Repair

Hernias are corrected with open or laparoscopic surgery. Loyola’s skilled surgeons offer open or minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures based on a patient’s discussion with their physician.  Open hernia repair may require one long incision or several depending on the severity of the hernia, and recovery may be up to 3 weeks.  The minimally invasive procedure often has smaller incisions, less blood loss and quicker recovery time.