A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue bulges through a weak area of muscle that holds it in place. Hernias most commonly occur in the abdomen though can appear in the upper thigh, groin or belly button.
At EvergreenHealth Monroe, Dr. Eickerman specializes in treating large ventral hernias in patients who have experienced previous surgical repairs that have failed and have few remaining options for lasting relief.
A ventral hernia is one type of abdominal hernia that presents itself as a bulge in the muscles of the abdominal wall. This type of hernia can occur anywhere along the abdomen and may develop following an abdominal procedure or surgery at the incision site if it has not healed properly – these are called incisional hernias. Ventral hernias increase in size over time and appear as a bulge (of tissue) through the abdominal wall muscles. Pain or pressure may be present at the hernia site.
Ventral hernias, abdominal wall hernias, can occur:
Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following life-threatening symptoms associated with a ventral or abdominal hernia:
Ventral hernias are most commonly diagnosed through a physical examination of the bulge/hernia site. Additional diagnostic tests include:
Ventral hernias are treated surgically typically once a hernia has become uncomfortable and/or began increasing in size. Dr. Eickerman offers a more complex surgical repair, known as the Component Separation Technique (CST). This, coupled with the addition of a relatively new biosynthetic mesh called Phasix, has been proven to provide better long-term repair with significantly less likelihood of recurrence. The material was developed in the last four years by engineers at MIT, and Dr. Eickerman was one of the first surgeons in Washington to begin using it in abdominal wall reconstruction, and he is one of the very few surgeons that currently performs CST on the Eastside and in Snohomish County.
“The Phasix material [used in this procedure] is actually absorbed by the body. It stimulates the tissue to form new collagen which creates the fascia necessary for a long-term solution,” Dr. Eickerman says. Though more time is needed for more conclusive studies, Dr. Eickerman has seen just a 5 percent chance of recurrence with the Phasix technique, with very low complication rates.