Everyone hopes that their first surgery to correct an issue is also their last, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Although modern medicine has continued to improve, for a small percentage of patients who undergo hernia repair surgery, the hernia returns weeks, months or years down the road. But why does a hernia return, and what can you do to prevent and treat it? We answer that question and more in today’s blog on recurrent hernias.
Why Does A Hernia Return?
A hernia occurs initially when a tissue or an organ breaks through a weak spot in an abdominal muscle. The tissue will not retract to allow the opening to close on its own, so most people diagnosed with a hernia eventually have the problem surgically repaired. For the majority of people, that is the end of their hernia issue. But for a small minority, the hernia returns.
But why does it come back after being surgically addressed? Many people assume that it is the fault of the treating surgeon, and while that is possible, that’s typically not the case. Even after they have been closed, old hernia sites can expand in size beyond the original repair site. If surgical mesh was used to provide a seal, the mesh can move or shrink, and the tissue can once again push through the weakened location. And even after it’s surgically repaired correctly, if you overload the area with stress, the tissue can again break through a reinforced area.
There are also certain factors and conditions that increase a person’s risk of having a recurrent hernia. Those include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being a smoker
- Having diabetes
- Taking certain medications
- Having undergone chemotherapy
- Repetitive lifting and strenuous activity that puts stain on the abdominal area.
Repairing And Preventing Recurrent Hernias
So how can you go about preventing and repairing recurrent hernias? For starters, let’s talk about prevention. You can help prevent recurrent hernias by keeping the above risk factors in mind, i.e. maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and being mindful of your posture and activity level. You can also help to prevent a recurrent hernia by choosing a skilled surgeon to perform your initial operation. Dr. Bhatti has an impeccable record when it comes to hernia repair and preventing subsequent hernias, so trust your care to him to help reduce your risk that the condition returns.
As for repairing a recurrent hernia, the procedure is very similar to your initial operation. Using either an open or minimally invasive technique, your surgeon will navigate to the hernia site and then reinforce the area with mesh or another suture method. Once the surgeon is satisfied that the hernia has been appropriately secured, they’ll close up the incision site and send you off to a recovery room. Eventually you’ll start a rehabilitation and physical therapy program, and it will be imperative that you follow these instructions closely so that you don’t have yet another setback with your hernia.
So if you have a hernia and you want to reduce the likelihood that it returns, or you believe your hernia has come back and you want someone to take care of it once and for all, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the talented team at Bhatti GI Consultants today.