Care and Treatment of Hernias | Surgical Services | Loyola Medicine

Hernias

Exceptional Care for All Types of Hernias

A hernia is a protrusion that occurs when soft tissue (such as part of an organ) pushes through a hole or weakened part of the muscle and fascia that line your abdomen or groin. Patients often seek medical attention for a hernia if they experience symptoms such as swelling under the skin of the abdomen, groin or chest. Patients often report a heavy feeling in the abdomen, bloating, constipation or blood in the stool. A hernia may cause extreme pain or no pain at all.

The hernia specialists at Loyola University Medical Center and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital offer exceptional care for men and women with all types of hernias. While hernias generally do not require a trip to the emergency department, they can turn into a serious medical problem. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of a hernia, call to make an appointment to see a Loyola specialist. When you call, you will be asked a few questions about your medical history and any prior surgeries to ensure you see the appropriate specialist for your case. 

Why Choose Loyola for Hernias?

The experienced hernia specialists at Loyola work as part of a clinically integrated care team, partnering with reconstructive surgeons, gastroenterologists, nutritionists and minimally invasive surgeons. Wound care specialists are on hand for the treatment of fistulas and complicated wounds of the abdominal wall. Our surgeons have access to the latest treatment options, reducing the chance of hernia recurrence and improving overall patient outcomes.

We’ll coordinate your care with your primary care physician, sports medicine doctor, urologist or other referring doctor. After your surgery, we will guide you through the recovery process with pain management, medication, rehabilitation and physical therapy.

What Types of Hernia are Treated at Loyola?

At Loyola University Medical Center and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, our board-certified surgeons treat several types of hernia:

  • Hiatal (diaphragmatic) hernia — This 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 (GERD) and may also cause serious stomach problems.
     
  • Inguinal (groin) hernia — This 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 a section of intestines, pushes through the lining of your abdominal wall.
     
  • Sports hernia — Athletes who play hockey, soccer, tennis and other sports are likely to experience a sports hernia, a painful inguinal hernia that’s caused by overuse of the groin muscles. 
     
  • Umbilical hernia — An umbilical hernia occurs in children and forms around the navel. It is treated by the experienced pediatric surgery team at Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital.
     
  • Ventral (abdominal) hernia — A type of abdominal hernia that develops from a birth defect or after a surgical incision in the abdomen doesn’t heal properly. It is treated by reconstructing the abdominal wall.

How are Hernias Diagnosed?

A hernia usually is diagnosed through a physical exam and a conversation with your doctor about your medical history. Your doctor will ask if you’re feeling pain and when it started, then look for a bulge in your groin or abdomen. You may be asked to stand and cough to make the hernia appear. Some tests, such as an ultrasound or an abdominal X-ray, are used to confirm a diagnosis.

How are Hernias Treated?

Hernias sometimes heal by themselves if given time and rest; others need to be corrected with hernia surgery. Our specialists will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan. 

To treat hernias, Loyola also offers minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures on an outpatient basis, which involve smaller incisions, less loss of blood and a quicker recovery time.