(Photo above, Courtesy of Bend Hernia Center)
Over the many years as a physician, I’ve seen countless active people suffer needlessly from hernias, thinking that the surgery and recovery will be far worse than just living with discomfort and pain. It’s important that people with hernias know they have options, considering the advances in minimally invasive techniques, new materials, advanced imaging, and the successful outcomes I see every day.
Most of the time my patients have a short recovery period after a procedure to repair their hernia and return to their normal activities. I’m consistently surprised that people think they must live with a hernia all their lives, and that a procedure will prevent them from enjoying their favorite recreation like golf, skiing or biking.
Hernias are in fact common and may occur at any time from newborn to octogenarian, with almost a third of men having a hernia at some time in their life.
Many of my patients don’t realize how many different types of hernias there are. There are hernias in the groin (inguinal) area, typically seen in active adults. A sports hernia is different in that it’s a strain or tear of the soft tissue in the lower abdomen or groin area and common in Central Oregon. Abdominal hernias take on many forms from simple to highly complex, and may develop from surgical incision sites, or due to the stretching of tissues during pregnancy or with obesity. Women may experience an umbilical hernia from a weakening of the wall during a difficult childbirth. Hiatal hernias are a leading cause for acid reflux.
I frequently see a patient when their hernia condition has become severe, where it would have been far less complicated and more convenient for the patient if I they had come to me earlier. If a hernia becomes strangulated and cuts off the blood supply, or protrudes through the abdominal wall, it can be life threatening, resulting in emergency surgery. In any case, a hernia is much better managed when we get ahead of a worsening condition.
The best solution for a hernia repair is individualized for the patient depending on the type and extent of their hernia, their age and health, their level of activity and lifestyle, as well as their personal preferences.
I’ll repair a hernia using laparoscopic and open surgical approaches, which are well- established protocols. But I also incorporate new minimally invasive robotic techniques where my patients are recovering quickly and successfully.
While many hernias can be repaired without mesh, some cases do require a mesh to help strengthen the repair and prevent recurrence. Advances in medical materials have come a long way in recent years, producing lightweight strong and flexible meshes that the body incorporates into its own tissue, resulting in superior repairs with few complications.
Regardless of which solution the patient and I choose for their treatment, hernia surgery is more successful than ever, resulting in less pain and fewer recurrences. My goal is to create treatment solutions that suit their individual lifestyle, getting them back to a high quality of life.
Dr. Mike Mastrangelo of Bend is the only surgeon in Central Oregon who is fellowship-trained in advanced laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgery specializing in hernia repair, offering laparoscopy, endoscopy and robotic surgery. He has co-authored published articles on hernia repair and taught internationally for over two decades.
bendherniacenter.com • 541-383-2200