A hernia develops when an organ pushes through the wall of the muscle that encircles it, and they can occur in many different areas of the body. One of the more common locations for a hernia to develop is in your abdominal wall. Today, we take a closer look at the different types of hernias that can develop in your abdomen, and how these hernias are best treated.
Types of Abdominal Wall Hernias
Here’s a look at the different types of hernias that can develop in your abdominal wall:
- Epigastric Hernias – Epigastric hernias occur when a weakened spot in the abdominal wall allows some fat to push through. They are typically small and tend to develop in the middle of the belly. They aren’t always symptomatic, but they can cause pain and discomfort in your upper belly region.
- Incisional Hernia – This type of hernia, as the name implies, develops in the area of a previous surgical incision. Cutting the abdominal wall for an operation can leave it in a weakened state, which may allow tissue to push through it in the future. They can develop soon after surgery, or years down the road. Then tend to be larger in size and generally cause pain and discomfort.
- Spigelian Hernias – A spigelian hernia develops in the the middle of the abdominal muscles, unlike other types of hernias that develop immediately below a layer of fat. Because of their location, they may not be noticable with a visible bulge, but they can still be problematic, because their location means they are at an increased risk for strangulation. They are a more rare type of abdominal hernia.
- Umbilical Hernias – These hernias occur when a weakened spot in the belly allows some fluid, intestine or fat to push through an opening, creating a bulge near the belly button. They are more common in infants and oftentimes heal on their own. They can also develop in adults when pressure is increased in the abdomen, through things like pregnancy, weight gain or coughing fits.
Treating Abdominal Hernias
In order to treat these hernias, your hernia specialist needs to know what they are working with, so they’ll want to conduct a physical exam. Once your type of hernia is identified, your surgeon will walk you through your options. Although each hernia is different, symptomatic hernias aren’t going to heal on their own, so treatment typically involves surgery.
- Epigastric Hernias – Surgery is usually the course of action, unless the problem is asymptomatic, small, and not at risk of strangulation. In these cases, simply keeping an eye on it and watching for symptom progression may be the only treatment. But in most cases, surgery to push the tissue back in place and strengthen the abdominal wall is recommended.
- Incisional Hernias – These hernias will not heal on their own, so treatment involves either an open or minimally invasive corrective surgery
- Spigelian Hernias – A surgical operation is the only way to fix a spigelian hernia, so again, an open or minimally invasive operation is performed.
- Umbilical Hernias – As we mentioned above, these hernias can heal on their own in infants, but due to their risk of strangulation in adults, surgery is typically performed.
As you can see, surgery is typically the answer for fixing abdominal wall hernias. Dr. Koeplin is well-versed in both the open and minimally invasive corrective procedures, and he has extensive experience with all of these types of hernias. So if you’ve noticed a bulge in your abdominal wall, or you think you may be dealing with a hernia, reach out to Dr. Koeplin for a consultation today.