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Publications

Hernia surgery: why you shouldn’t delay

Bookmark and Share For years, Rita Hanna of Medford Lakes, experienced an occasional sharp pain that shot from her abdomen to her shoulder while exercising. She dismissed it as a sign she was overexerting her body. However, when the bulge in her abdomen finally caught her attention, she knew it was something more serious. That's when she turned to her primary care doctor, Ryan McCormick, MD, of Virtua Partners in Primary Care. He diagnosed the hernias and then explained to Hanna a hernia is a weakness in the muscular wall through which an organ may protrude. "As a primary care doctor, I'm on the front line fielding patients' concerns, diagnosing early and referring them to the right specialist when follow-up care is needed," says Dr. McCormick. Confident in Virtua's high level of surgical care, he referred her to Miguel de Leon, MD, of Virtua Surgical Group. Too risky to ignore
"It's important not to delay the repair. Hernias can pose potentially detrimental risks, such as intestinal obstruction, or even strangulation of the bowel," says Dr. de Leon. There are many types of hernias, and both men and women of all ages can get them. Inguinal (groin) and femoral (upper thigh) hernias are more common in men. Incisional hernias occur from incisions or scars from previous surgeries. And umbilical (belly button) hernias are common in babies but usually close on their own by age 1. Umbilical hernias in adults, however, usually need repair. To repair a hernia, Dr. de Leon returns the protruding organ back to its original position and places a mesh-like patch over the weak spot in the muscular wall. Dr. de Leon's minimally invasive approach offers little scarring and a fast recovery. Dr. de Leon performs most of his hernia repairs in Virtua Marlton's advanced surgical suites for minimally invasive surgery. The suites offer a voiceactivated computer system, high-definition digital imaging and two-way video linkages. These features allow surgeons to operate with greater ease, more precision and with a more defined view of the surgical field than before - improving overall quality and patient care. "I was glad I had surgery right away. Now, it's a thing of the past," says Hanna.