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Patient Stories

Journey To Hernia Repair Can Begin With Simple Screening

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For Wilton resident Marc Taubin, a 52-year-old insurance and wealth management broker, the journey toward umbilical hernia surgery began with a casual conversation with surgeon and golf buddy Andrew Kenler, MD, about a bulge in Taubin’s belly button.

“Once he saw me, Dr. Kenler said, ‘We probably should do something about that, before it gets worse.’”

Shortly after a more thorough exam during an office visit, Taubin found himself ready for minimally invasive surgery at Yale New Haven’s Park Avenue Medical Center in Trumbull to repair the hernia.

“It was so seamless,” Taubin said, “from pre-op through recovery. “Dr. Kenler and his entire surgical team were the best of the best. Today I have a perfect belly button!”

Hernias are a common medical condition affecting men, women and children. They are repaired if the patient is having symptoms related to the hernia and/or to prevent a strangulated hernia, which obstructs the blood flow to the organ/tissue going thru the hole and the organ/tissue dies. Hernia surgery can be accomplished in open fashion or laparoscopically/robotically, typically with placement of a piece of mesh as a barrier.

About one million hernia repairs are performed annually in the United States. In experienced surgical hands, the robotic/laparoscopic approach leads to a faster recovery time, lower complication rate and reduced chance of the hernia coming back, Dr. Kenler says.

“A hernia is the bulging of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in the strength layer of the body called fascia,” explains Andrew Kenler, MD, of Yale New Haven Health’s Northeast Medical Group. “One is either born with a hernia or acquires one through daily activities such as heavy lifting.”

Furthermore, Dr. Kenler says, what protrudes through the opening can get stuck and/or twisted, leading to what is called a strangulated hernia, which obstructs the blood flow to the organ/tissue going thru the hole and the organ/tissue dies. This may be corrected by traditional open surgery or laparoscopically/robotically, typically with placement of a piece of mesh as a barrier.

A hernia is usually detected during a physical examination when a bulge is noticed at the location of the hernia. An ultrasound or CT scan may be needed to make a definitive diagnosis.

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