Referring Physicians >>
June 2012 Hernia Newsletter >>
The Team Approach to Hernia Care
Our team works with patients, primary care physicians, and specialists to ensure coordinated, comprehensive care.
The team of surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, and anesthesiologists at the UW Health Complex Hernia Clinic works closely with patients—and their primary care physicians—to provide coordinated, comprehensive care.
Patients referred to our clinic with a diagnosed hernia see one of our surgeons for a complete evaluation. The workup may include obtaining CT images and addressing any related medical conditions, including obesity and tobacco use (see “Multidisciplinary Care for Related Conditions” below).
Specific decisions on when to operate, and which surgical approach to use, are made on a case-by-case basis based on the patient’s needs. See the related newsletter article, Surgical Options for Hernia Repair, for more details.
Our team also offers an emergency surgical service for patients who present in the emergency department with severe hernia-related pain or an incarcerated or strangulated hernia.
Recovery and Follow-Up
Most simple laparoscopic hernia repair operations are performed as day surgery.
Patients who undergo open repair of a complex hernia are usually hospitalized for 1 to 2 weeks. In some cases, those patients may require postoperative sedation and ventilation in our surgical intensive care unit.
Recovery is about 2 to 4 weeks for simple laparoscopic repair, and 4 to 6 weeks for open repair. During the recovery period, patients should avoid heavy lifting or abdominal exertion. Some patients may experience mild pain for up to 2 months after surgery. View home care guidelines here
Depending on their surgeon’s preference, most patients will return to the clinic for a follow-up appointment approximately 2 weeks after surgery. Patients who have undergone large repairs are usually seen again 6 weeks after surgery. Subsequent follow-up visits are scheduled as needed.
Multidisciplinary Care for Related Conditions
Hernias occur more frequently in people with chronic muscle weakness, which can result from poor nutrition, smoking, or overexertion. Hernias are also more common in people who are obese, have persistent coughing or sneezing, have chronic constipation, or have other conditions that cause increased abdominal pressure.
Because hernia repair is usually elective, we take a multidisciplinary approach to help patients address any related conditions before surgery, which helps decrease the likelihood of recurrence and related complications afterwards.
For example, before hernia repair, we may refer patients to the:
Patients who have particularly severe hernias that require complex abdominal wall reconstruction may also consult with our Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery team.
Share Your Insights
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For More Information
Learn more about UW Health’s Complex Hernia Clinic here