A hernia in simple terms is a hole where something protrudes through. A hernia is most commonly found between the diaphragm and the symphysis pubis. Hernias are not painful unless they strangulate but feel uncomfortable.
It is normally the intestine or fat around the intestine that protrudes through the hole and causes the lump that can be seen and felt. This lump normally pops out when abdominal pressure increases i.e when you cough or lift something heavy. The lump can be pushed in by gentling massaging it.
Many people have abdominal hernias. As much as 10% of the population develop some type of a hernia during life. More than a half million hernia operations are performed in the United States each year.
Many people can happily live with a hernia. Sometimes, however hernias might become larger and cause a medical emergency as tissue becomes trapped in the outpouching, loses its blood supply and dies.
Hernias usually occur in areas where the abdominal wall is weakened or thinner, either because the location is already weaker or is made weaker due to a previous intervention such as a surgical procedure. This weakness could be there since birth but may not cause problems until later in life.
The hernia ultrasound scan will evaluate the area of suspected hernia, for example:
No preparation is necessary for this scan.
Before the scan, our sonographer will explain the examination procedure. You will be asked to lie on the examination couch and expose the area of the suspected hernia. A small amount of gel will be applied on the area and the probe will be moved in different direction to obtain the images. You may also be asked to do whats called Valsalva to increase abdominal presure so that the hernia can pop out.
During and after the examination our sonographer will explain the findings and an ultrasound report will be issued to take away with you.
There are multiple reasons why hernis occur but the most common ones are:
Some conditions may increase the pressure against the abdominal cavity and cause a muscle to tear and a hernia to form or make a hernia worse:
Sometimes small hernias might be difficult to visualise. Diagnostic confidenec increases with high resolution ultrasound equipment.
The examination is also operator dependent. At IUS we have vast experience in examination and identification of herniae.