Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Symptoms of a hernia include pain or discomfort and a localized swelling somewhere on the surface of the abdomen or in the groin area.
There are many different types of hernias.
Serious complications from a hernia result from the trapping of tissues in the hernia (incarceration), which can result in the damage of death of the tissue.
Hernia repair and the treatment of hernia complications require surgery.
Lumps and swelling in the abdominal area should be examined by a doctor.
What is an abdominal hernia?
A hernia is a general term that refers to a protrusion of a body tissue through a wall of a cavity in which it is normally contained. For example, brain tissue can herniate as can discs in the spine. A common herniation in people is an abdominal herniation. The following article will discuss these hernias.
An abdominal hernia is an opening or weakness in the muscular structure of the wall of the abdomen. The peritoneum
(lining of the abdominal cavity) protrudes through the opening and this defect causes a bulging of the abdominal wall. This bulging is usually more noticeable when the abdominal muscles are tightened, thereby increasing the pressure in the abdomen. Any activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure can worsen a hernia; examples of such activities are lifting, coughing, or even straining to have a bowel movement. Imagine a barrel with a hole in its side and a balloon that is blown up inside the barrel. Part of the inflated balloon would bulge out through the hole. The balloon going through the hole is like the tissues of the abdomen bulging through a hernia.
When the lining protrudes it can contain intra-abdominal contents such as the intestines and omentum (the layer of fat that covers abdominal organs). Serious complications from a hernia can result from the trapping of tissues in the hernia -- a process called incarceration. Trapped or incarcerated tissues may have their blood supply cut off, leading to damage or death of the tissue. The treatment of an incarceration usually involves surgery.
About 10% of the population will have an abdominal hernia during their lifetime. The hernias may occur in infants, children, and adults -- both in males and females. However, the majority of abdominal hernias occur in males.
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 2/17/2012
Medical Authors Editors: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR and Melissa Stöppler, M.D.
Before surgery, it is important to be informed about all aspects of the procedure, including an understanding of what to expect following the procedure, and the length of recovery time. The following "Questions to Ask your Surgeon" will help keep you informed as a patient, and hopefully ease any fears or concerns you may have.
What is the recommended procedure? Ask your surgeon for a simplified explanation of the type of
operation, technique used, and reasons it should be performed.
(Pictures and drawings can tell patients and family a great deal.)
Why was this specific procedure chosen over possible alternatives?
What is the surgeon's experience with this procedure? Ask the surgeon about his/her experience with this procedure, its outcome, and the hospital or setting in which the operation will be performed. Is the nursing staff accustomed to caring for patients who have had this procedure?