The Hernia You’ve Never Heard of — the Parastomal Hernia

When a person is dealing with gastrointestinal problems that prevent them from having normal bowel movements, developing a parastomal hernia is a good possibility. A stoma is an opening made by a surgeon in the patient’s stomach, small bowel, or colon that allows the person to pass waste into a bag. Unfortunately, there’s an almost 80 percent chance a person having a stoma will eventually develop a parastomal hernia.

Dr. Jacob performs parastomal hernia repair surgery at NYC Hernia.

What is a parastomal hernia? What are the symptoms?

Parastomal hernias happen when part of your intestines sticks out through the created stoma. This type of hernia usually develops slowly and grows gradually. As this happens, you may notice these symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort around your stoma
  • Trouble keeping your stoma appliance in place
  • Bulging around your stoma, especially when you cough

What causes parastomal hernias?

Having a stoma can weaken the patient’s abdominal muscles. This causes the muscles to pull away from the stoma. This is the typical way a parastomal hernia develops, but these other factors can contribute to this development:

  • Malnutrition
  • Smoking
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chronic constipation
  • Corticosteroid use
  • Infection after the stoma procedure
  • Obesity

Treating parastomal hernias

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, can ease symptoms in about 80 percent of patients with parastomal hernias. The other 20 percent require surgery. These are potential approaches used by Dr. Jacob:

  • Closing the stoma — If the patient has enough healthy bowel left to reattach, closing the stoma is the best option for repair.
  • Repairing the hernia — With small hernias, Dr. Jacob makes an incision in the abdominal wall over the hernia and sews the muscle and other tissues together to narrow or close the hernia.
  • Relocating the stoma — Sometimes, the original stoma can be closed and a new stoma opened on another part of the abdomen.
  • Mesh — After the above repair is completed, Dr. Jacob places mesh either over the repaired stoma or below the abdominal wall. The mesh becomes a part of the tissue around it, adding strength and helping to prevent a recurrence of the hernia.

Do you have symptoms of a hernia? Call Dr. Jacob at NYC Hernia, 212-879-6677.

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