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Hernia FAQs: With Dr. Joseph Brady & Dr. Jordan Hebert

Published 05/11/2021

Dr. Jordan Hebert“Every hernia is different,” explains Dr. Jordan Hebert, a fellowship trained and board-certified surgeon at South County Health. “They come in all shapes and sizes. Hernias can occur in numerous locations for a variety of reasons and vary greatly in complexity.”

Fellowship trained to specialize in minimally invasive surgical techniques, including robotic and laparoscopic approaches, Dr. Hebert communicates with each of his patients to understand their unique conditions, treatment options, and personal preferences.

“Just as there are many different types of hernias, there are numerous ways they can be repaired. The best repair technique for one patient, is not necessarily the best option for the next patient,” Dr. Hebert said.

Dr. Joseph BradyHe, along with fellow surgeon, Dr. Joseph Brady, offers a full spectrum of hernia repair options, allowing a tailored approach to fit the unique needs of each individual patient.

“Patient education is very important, I always strive to help my patients to feel very well informed as we decide on the best treatment approach together.”

Known for their experience and expertise in hernia repair, Dr. Hebert and Dr. Brady both offer sophisticated hernia repair options that enable their patients to return to normal activities quickly and with minimal discomfort.

Do you think you may have a hernia?

Below are some insights from our experts that may help you.


What is a hernia?

A hernia is essentially a hole in your abdominal wall.  The abdominal wall is comprised of connective tissue sheets that serve as a strong protective barrier to keep our internal organs inside the belly cavity.  A hernia is a breakdown in that barrier, a defect which can allow the tissues inside your abdomen to escape outward into the space just below the skin.  This can place internal organs at risk of injury.

What causes hernias?

As we age our connective tissue can weaken and predispose us to hernia formation. Other hernias are due to prior surgical incisions. Obesity can also cause patients to be at higher risk for developing abdominal wall hernias, due to added pressure on the abdominal wall.  Some hernias are congenital, meaning that they have been present since birth.

How do I know if I have a hernia?

One of the most common ways a patient might initially notice a hernia is the presence of a bulge below the skin in the groin or belly button region.  A visit with an experienced hernia surgeon is the best way to confirm the presence of a hernia.  In most cases the diagnosis can be made by physical examination in the office and typically does not require any imaging tests.

Are there different types of hernias?

Hernias are like unique snowflakes, they come in all shapes and sizes.  They can occur in many different locations and vary greatly in size, location, and complexity. 

Umbilical (“belly button”) hernias and inguinal (“groin”) hernias are some of the most common hernias that we see in our office.

Incisional hernias occur when there is breakdown of the scar tissue at the site of a prior surgical incision.

Hiatal hernias occur through the diaphragm, a muscle that serves as a barrier between the abdominal cavity and the chest cavity.  This type of hernia can cause acid reflux and protrusion of the stomach into the chest.

Because there are so many variables when it comes to treating hernias, it is important to seek care from a hernia surgeon who is experienced in multiple hernia repair techniques to ensure that the surgical approach can be tailored to the unique reconstruction needs of each patient.

What will happen if a hernia goes untreated?

Untreated hernias can often cause pain, although some patients with abdominal wall hernias report no symptoms.  Even patients without symptoms can be at risk for hernia related issues however.  Hernias can cause a “finger trap” type effect to anything that slides past the hole and gets stuck on the other side.  When abdominal organs, such as a portion of intestines, get stuck on the wrong side of a hernia defect, emergency surgery could become necessary.  This is one of the many reasons why a preemptive “elective” repair is often advised.

What should I do if I suspect that I have a hernia?

Since hernias do not go away on their own, there is no way eliminate a hernia defect without surgical repair to close the hole.  It is always a good idea to meet with a hernia surgeon to discuss consideration of an elective hernia repair surgery vs the option of a careful non-operative monitoring approach based on your individual risk factors and preferences.

What is the recovery period after hernia surgery?

Most patients are able to go home the same day as their surgery and do not need an overnight stay in the hospital.  Patients may experience some mild soreness afterwards, particularly for the first day or two.  Most patients need only a day or two off from work, unless their job requires heavy lifting.  Most patients are back in the gym, back on the golf course, or back lifting at work after just 2 weeks.

Are there minimally invasive procedures that can be used to repair hernias?

South County Hospital’s experienced team of hernia surgeons is able to offer patients robotic assisted hernia repair surgery, which has several advantages when compared to other repair techniques, especially for the repair of complex abdominal wall hernias.

What are the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery to patients?

In many cases, robotic assisted hernia repair surgery, an advanced minimally invasive approach, allows surgeons to offer patients the optimal combination of minimal incision size, minimal risk of complications, minimal pain, minimal downtime, and minimal risk for hernia recurrence.

How do I know which option is best for me?

Just as there are many different types of hernias, there are numerous ways that hernias can be repaired.

The technical jargon involved in hernia repair can be intimidating with acronyms such as eTEP (extended totally extraperitoneal repair), rTAPP (robotic transabdominal preperitoneal), and IPOM (Intraperitoneal Onlay Mesh) to name a few.

Essentially, Dr. Hebert said, the surgical options boil down to:

  • The instrumentation used: (Robotic, laparoscopic, or open)
  • The defect closure material used: (Stitches or mesh)
  • The layer of the repair
  • The type of anesthesia used: (Fully asleep or partially awake)

Dr. Hebert and Dr. Brady help patients navigate the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to make sure that the best option for each patient’s unique situation is chosen.

“Some patients like to know all the nitty gritty details of their hernia and the procedure used to repair it,” Dr. Hebert said. “As surgeons, Dr. Brady and I enjoy taking time with patients’ questions and are always happy to ‘talk shop’ on these topics.”

Schedule a consultation

South County Surgery
Medical Office Building
70 Kenyon Avenue, Suite 325
Wakefield, RI 02879

Phone: 401-284-1212

Joseph Brady, MD
Specialty: General Surgery
Medical School: Hahnemann University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Residency: Hahnemann University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Board Certification: American Board of General Surgery

Meet Dr. Joseph Brady >>

Jordan Hebert, DO
Specialties: General and Bariatric Surgery
Medical School: University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford, ME
Residency: Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ
Fellowships: Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, MD, Advanced GI MIS Bariatric Surgery
Board Certification: American Osteopathic Board of Surgery

Meet Dr. Jordan Hebert >>