Hernia Specialist

Gabriel Akopian, MD -  - General and Colorectal Surgeon

Gabriel Akopian, MD

General and Colorectal Surgeon located in Pasadena, CA

A hernia is a painful bulge caused in the abdomen when intestines or soft tissue protrude through weaknesses in the muscular wall that normally protects them. Men most commonly get hernias, and even though they can seem to come out of nowhere, they won’t go away without medical attention. Gabriel Akopian, MD, treats hernias with a quick, surgical procedure, often using robotic assistance to ensure maximum precision. You can make a painful hernia a thing of the past by calling the office in Pasadena, California, today or use the online scheduling tool.

Hernia Q & A

What is a hernia?

Your intestines and other organs are protected in your abdomen by a thin layer of muscle. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, a small amount of intestine or soft tissue may protrude through a weak spot in this abdominal wall, resulting in a painful bulge. This bulge is called an inguinal hernia.

While a hernia is not necessarily dangerous by itself, it won’t heal on its own, and complications from a hernia can be life-threatening.

What causes hernias?

Hernias are the result of increased pressure in the abdomen and weakness in the abdominal wall. Sometimes these conditions can occur for no apparent reason, but other times it can occur because of:

  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Straining while lifting heavy objects
  • Straining during urination or bowel movements
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic or severe coughing or sneezing

Many people have weaknesses in their abdomen from birth without ever realizing it, but others develop it after an injury or surgery.

Men usually develop hernias at the abdomen’s natural weak spot, the inguinal canal at the base of the scrotum. Likewise, women tend to get them around where the uterus connects to the pubic bone.

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

You can recognize a hernia by looking for:

  • A painful lump on either side of the pubic bone that becomes more obvious when you’re upright
  • Pain, discomfort, or a heavy feeling in the groin
  • In men, pain, redness or swelling in the scrotum

Some more extreme cases may result in:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Sudden, intensifying pain
  • Inability to have bowel movements or pass gas

These are signs of a dangerous complication called an incarcerated hernia when tissue is unable to move from where it has become lodged. These are much more dangerous, and you should seek immediate emergency care if you believe you have one.

How do I treat a hernia?

A hernia will require a doctor’s care, as it can’t heal by itself. Dr. Akopian will most likely be able to diagnose a hernia on the spot from the painful bulge, and he recommends a minimally invasive hernia repair.

Dr. Akopian performs what’s called a laparoscopy of the hernia, a simple procedure where he repairs the weakness in the abdomen with synthetic mesh. In certain cases, robotic assistance may be used for extra precision, to ensure minimal discomfort and scarring.

If you think you may have a hernia, don’t wait any longer. Call the office or make an appointment online today.