Hernia Diagnosis & Repair

Lisa Collar from Live 5 News, Live Healthy recently interviewed Dr. David W. Ford on various types of hernia, what complications can arise if left untreated and the new technology used for surgical hernia repair.

In this episode of “Live Healthy”, Dr. David W. Ford of TriCounty Surgical Associates explains that a hernia is "when an internal organ or other body part protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue that normally contains it. Most hernias occur within the abdominal cavity, between the chest and the hips."

There are several types of hernias:

  • An Umbilical Hernia occurs when part of your intestine bulges through the opening in your abdominal muscles near your belly button (navel). Umbilical hernias are common and typically harmless. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but they can affect adults as well.
  • An Inguinal Hernia is a hole in an area of weakness in the muscles located at the groin area, most often on the right side.
  • A Ventral Hernia is a term that applies to all hernias that occur at any location along the midline (vertical center) of the abdomen wall, usually larger in size.
  • An Incisional Hernia is a protrusion of tissue that forms at the site of a healing surgical scar. This is a type of ventral hernia and accounts for 15-20% of all abdominal hernias, occurring when improper healing from previous surgery further weakens abdominal muscles. The hernia appears as a bulge under the skin and can be painful or tender to the touch.
  • A Hiatal Hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the diaphragm, the large muscle separating your abdomen and chest, and protrudes into the chest cavity, often behind the heart. The top part of your stomach gets pinched, and stomach acid can back up (reflux) through the opening. 

As a Board-Certified General Surgeon, Dr. David W. Ford operates with a minimally invasive robotic surgical system for most hernia repair procedures. 

For the patient, the benefits of robotic surgery include:

  • More precise surgery. Often, your surgeon needs to operate near healthy, sensitive organs, tissues, and nerves. The goal of surgery is to remove the abnormality without affecting surrounding healthy structures. The small size and flexibility of the robotic instruments make this easier to accomplish.
  • Significantly less pain.
  • Less risk of infection and blood loss. Your surgeon makes tiny incisions rather than large ones, lowering the risk of infection or blood loss.
  • Earlier discharge from the hospital. Generally, patients can go home earlier following a robotic surgery, sometimes even the next day.
  • Less scarring and shorter recovery. The smaller incisions also mean that your recovery period is shorter. Sometimes, recovery may last just a few days.
  • In many cases, better clinical outcomes

For the surgeon, the benefits of robotic surgery include:

  • An enhanced visual field. At the console, your surgeon has a superior view of the operating area. The high-definition camera provides a magnified, detailed view of the affected area. Your surgeon can see the microscopic structures more clearly, leading to a more precise surgery.
  • Superior dexterity. A human hand can only move so much. But the robotic instrument exceeds the dexterity and range of motion of the human hand. The arms can rotate a full 360 degrees. This allows your surgeon to operate in a way that would be impossible without the robot.
  • Access to hard-to-reach places. The enhanced flexibility and precision of the robot allow your surgeon to access hard-to-reach areas. This means surgeons can treat more conditions with robotic surgery.

You can also visit the Tri-County Surgical Associates website by clicking here.

Learn More about Dr. David W. Ford