If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you probably know that Leading Medicine Guide presents numerous hernia specialists. In addition, we initiated hernia.guide, a successfull medical online platform dedicated to hernia surgery, and are cooperating with Herniamed and Swiss Hernia Days.
Hernias are abnormal openings in the abdominal wall, where inner organs squeeze through causing a visible bulge. While some hernias are harmless and painfree, others are life-threatening — especially if they become inflamed. Hernias definitely belong in expert hands. Up to 200,000 hernia surgeries are performed every year. This condition affects not only old and overweight people — a common misconception — but also athletes, children and infants.
We wanted to know more about hernias, so we talked to the acclaimed hernia expert Dr Kusch from Wilhelm University Münster’s Academic Teaching Hospital.
Mr Kusch, why do hernias happen? How do they make themselves felt? Can well trained bodies also suffer from hernias?
Hernias can happen to everyone. A hernia is caused by permanent pressure in the stomach or groin area. While lifting, sneezing, coughing, or defecating, this pressure is increased significantly.
A permanent increase can lead to a weakness in the respective area. The peritoneum is ruptured and inner organs can push through this new opening causing a visibile bulge on the skin’s surface.
Athletes, too, can suffer from hernias. Inguinal hernias are very frequent. The tissue in the groin area cannot withstand the pressure that occurs during training, which facilitates a rupture.
Why did you specialize in hernias?
I am a huge proponent of minimally invasive surgery, which is superior to conventional hernia surgery. I was one of the first surgeons in East Westfalia to offer this treatment for inguinal hernias, and our case numbers increased fivefold.
Today, we perform over 500 inguinal hernia surgeries and 100 other hernia surgeries per year.
This enormous increase in surgeries, as well as the number of satisfied patients, have made hernia surgery the main focus of my clinic.
Why are men more frequently affected?
With regard to inguinal hernias, men are handicapped, because the testicles move from the abdomen through the groin into the genital area during the developmental process in the uterus. If this canal doesn’t close naturally, the resulting gap can facilitate the occurence of inguinal hernias.
What’s the situation regarding infants and small children?
Inguinal hernias in infants and small children are a very common medical condition. They are caused when the unborn child’s peritoneum doesn’t fully close. During the fetal development, the inguinal canal is coated by the peritoneum, before regressing again and closing the entrance. The incomplete closure causes an inguinal hernia, which must be treated surgically.
You are also qualified in phlebology. How does this area pertain to the treatment of hernias? How does this qualification support you in your work as surgeon?
Phlebology is helpful only to some degree. Inguinal hernias are often discovered while diagnosing venous diseases.
Thank you for the interesting conversation, Mr Kusch!
Learn more about Leading Medicine Guide expert Dr. Kusch.