Hernia Conditions

A hernia is a protrusion of an internal organ or tissue through a weakness in the body's muscular wall. Hernias can occur throughout the body but most are in the abdomen. Hernias are common conditions that affect men and women of all ages. A combination of muscle weakness or strain caused by lifting, weight gain, constipation or straining during bowel movements may contribute to hernias. If severe enough, normal activities may be painful. There are several types of hernias:

  • Abdominal Wall
    • Ventral/incisional at the site of a previous incision
    • Umbilical at the navel
  • Groin
    • Inguinal occur in the groin
    • Femoral low in the groin
  • Hiatal through an opening in the diaphragm
    • Paraesophageal next to the esophagus

Treatment is usually elective hernia surgery to repair the opening in the muscle wall. Board certified general and gastrointestinal surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) perform thousands of simple and complex hernia operations each year. Our surgeons pioneered and continue to perfect the use of minimally invasive surgery. We repair hernias with small incisions through laparoscopic techniques that result in less post-surgical pain and a quicker recovery.

Surgeons at BWH are faculty members at Harvard Medical School and are active researchers who continually seek causes of hernia conditions and investigate treatments. They are also committed to training the next generation of surgeons through our Surgical Residency and Fellowship Programs.

General and gastrointestinal surgery services are available at multiple locations in and around Boston.


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