4 Hernia Clinics | Walnut Creek, Concord, Antioch, & Brentwood
April 21, 2023

What to Expect During a Hernia Exam

A hernia exam is a medical procedure used to diagnose and evaluate hernias. During the exam, a healthcare provider will inspect and palpate the hernia site, perform specific maneuvers to evaluate the hernia, and check for any potential complications. 

In this article, we will provide an overview of what to expect during a hernia exam, including preparation for the exam, the exam procedure, and follow-up after the exam. It is important to understand the process of a hernia exam in order to ensure early detection and prompt treatment of hernias.

Preparation for the Exam

To prepare for a hernia exam, you should provide your medical history to your healthcare provider. This will help them understand your current symptoms and any underlying medical conditions that may affect the exam results. 

Be sure to disclose any relevant medical information, such as previous surgeries, medications, and chronic health conditions. It is also important to inform your healthcare provider of any family history of hernias, as hernias can be hereditary.

The Exam Procedure

During a hernia exam, your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to check for any signs of a hernia. The exam typically involves the following steps:

  • Inspection of the hernia site: Your healthcare provider will visually examine the hernia site, looking for any visible bulges or swelling in the abdominal or groin area.
  • Palpation of the hernia site: The doctor will use their hands to feel the hernia site for any abnormal protrusions or swelling. They will also check for tenderness, pain, or discomfort.
  • Maneuvers to evaluate the hernia: Your healthcare provider may perform specific maneuvers to evaluate the hernia, such as having you cough or strain to see if the hernia becomes more prominent.
  • Checking for complications: Your healthcare provider will check for any potential complications, such as bowel obstruction, which can occur when a hernia becomes trapped and cuts off blood supply to the intestines. This can cause severe pain and requires immediate medical attention.

Depending on the type and location of the hernia, your healthcare provider may use additional diagnostic tools such as ultrasound or CT scans to further evaluate the hernia and any potential complications.

Follow-Up After the Exam

After a hernia exam, the results of the exam will be discussed with you, and the doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on the severity of the hernia and any potential complications.

If a hernia is detected during the exam, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to repair the hernia. Surgery is typically the most effective treatment for hernias, as it can prevent complications and alleviate symptoms. In some cases, however, your doctor may recommend monitoring the hernia and only performing surgery if the hernia becomes larger or causes significant discomfort.

If surgery is recommended, the doctor will discuss the surgical options available and provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

It is important to schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider to monitor the hernia and ensure that it is not causing any complications. They may also recommend additional testing or imaging to evaluate the hernia and monitor its progress.

Surgical Options

Surgery is the most common and effective treatment for hernias. The goal of hernia surgery is to repair the weakened or torn tissue and prevent the hernia from recurring. There are several surgical options available, depending on the type and location of the hernia, as well as the individual patient's health and medical history.

  • Open surgery: Open surgery is the traditional method of repairing a hernia. It involves making an incision in the abdomen or groin area to access the hernia and repair the weakened or torn tissue. Open surgery is effective for all types of hernias and is often recommended for larger or more complex hernias.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves making small incisions in the abdomen and using a tiny camera and specialized instruments to repair the hernia. Laparoscopic surgery is effective for most types of hernias and has several advantages over open surgery, including less pain, faster recovery, and fewer complications.
  • Robotic surgery: Robotic-assisted surgery is a newer surgical technique that uses a robotic system to perform the surgery. The robotic system is controlled by the surgeon, who uses a console to manipulate the instruments and camera. Robotic-assisted surgery is effective for most types of hernias and has several advantages over open and laparoscopic surgery, including better visualization and precision, fewer complications, and faster recovery.

The type of surgery recommended for a hernia will depend on several factors, including the size and location of the hernia, the patient's overall health, and the surgeon's experience and preference. Your healthcare provider will discuss the surgical options available and help you choose the best option for your individual case.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a hernia or have been diagnosed with a hernia, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. At Hernia Innovations, we offer advanced diagnostic and treatment options for hernias, including minimally invasive procedures. Our experienced team of healthcare providers is dedicated to providing personalized care and treatment to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our innovative hernia treatments.