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Left: Dr. Kimberly Evans, Surgeon (Barton Health General Surgery in South Lake Tahoe, CA); Right: da Vinci Xi Surgical System

Hernias: Battling the Bulge

Hernias occur when the stomach, intestines, or other organs in your abdomen poke through a tear or weak spot in the fascia, the body's strength layer. A hernia might feel like a lump in your groin or belly. This bulge often hurts when you cough, lift something heavy, or strain to go to the bathroom.

Some people are born with hernias. Others may develop them from risk factors such as obesity, age, lifting heavy objects, having a chronic cough or constipation, or playing sports. Organs also can push through a scar if you’ve had surgery on your abdomen.

Identifying a Hernia

The different types of hernias occur in different areas of the body:

  • Groin hernias are the most common type and occur in men.
  • Another type is umbilical hernias. These form when the strength layer around the belly button doesn’t join properly.
  • Hiatal hernias can contribute to heartburn or acid reflux disease. They develop when the stomach bulges upward through a defect in the diaphragm and into the chest.

You can’t always prevent hernias. However, you can lower your chance of getting certain types of hernias by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Using proper lifting techniques to prevent strains

Treatment Stops the Pain

Talk with your doctor if you think you have a hernia. While some hernias, including groin hernias in men, don’t need to be treated until they begin causing pain, a surgical operation often is needed to relieve symptoms and prevent a hernia from getting worse.

Kimberly Evans, MD, is a Board-certified surgeon at Barton Health and medical director of Barton’s Level III Trauma Center. Her specialties include advanced trauma care, advanced da Vinci robotic surgery, and general surgery. To learn more about general surgery services at Barton Health, visit BartonHealth.org/GeneralSurgery.

High Tech for Hernia Surgery
The latest robot-assisted surgery options are available at Barton Health with the introduction of the new da Vinci Xi Surgical System. The da Vinci Xi uses advanced technology across a spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures, including hernias.

Robot-assisted surgery and non-robotic surgery each have unique advantages. The new da Vinci Xi system features improved range of motion and magnified 3D vision for the surgeon, while providing tissue mapping and cardiovascular screening of the patient. Patients undergoing da Vinci robotic surgery experience smaller incisions, less pain, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery time, and less scarring. Visit BartonHealth.org/daVinci to learn more.