A spigelian hernia is a hernia through the spigelian fascia (layer of tissue that separates two groups of abdominal muscles).
A hernia occurs when an organ thrusts through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For instance, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall.
Spigelian hernia is also called a lateral ventral hernia, and it does not develop below layers of fat but rather between muscles and the tissue that links them.
A spigelian hernia can lead to a blockage a portion of the bowel or cut off the blood supply to other organs and tissue. This can be a deadly condition.
Symptoms of Spigelian Hernia
It is impossible to diagnose a spigelian hernia based on symptoms alone because symptoms of a spigelian hernia can be similar to other hernias in the abdomen. Spigelian hernias appears not to cause any visible swelling or protrusion because of their location between muscle layers. However, very thin people with visible abdominal muscles may notice some swelling.
Some symptoms of spigelian hernia include:
- Abdominal pain that is not related to food or illness
- sudden changes in bowel movement
- abdominal pain when coughing, lifting, or having a bowel movement
- a soft, unexplained swelling in the abdomen
A spigelian hernia can occur on either side of the abdomen, however, most people feel pain in the lower abdomen. This type of hernia can block the bowel or other vital organs, leading to a deadly complication that requires prompt medical attention.
If some vital organs are blocked by spigelian hernia, symptoms may include:
- unbearable abdominal pain that may come on suddenly or appear after a long period
- nausea and vomiting accompanied by severe pain
- not having a bowel movement for several days
- the appearance of blood in the stool
Causes of Spigelian Hernia
Spigelian hernias mostly occurs within a weakened area in the abdominal wall muscles. The weakened area can be inborn, or it can develop over time. If it develops over time, it can be caused by an injury or increased pressure within the abdominal cavity. This weakened area allows tissue and organs to push through the spigelian fascia.
Risk factors for a spigelian hernia include:
- straining frequently during bowel movement
- chronic cough
- being overweight or obese
- trauma to the abdomen
- being pregnant
- fluid in the abdomen
- straining to lift heavy objects
To correctly diagnose spigelian hernia, an ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen is performed.
Spigelian hernia can be detected by an ultrasound in most cases. Doctors can use computed tomography or CT scans. Both are non-invasive diagnostic tests that let a doctor to view the muscles, intestines, and abdominal wall.
For a spigelian hernia to be repaired, a surgery called laparoscopic hernia, must be performed. This procedure is minimally invasive. It uses a small incision to guide a tube and a camera into the abdomen. The doctors locate the hernia with the aid of the camera, then use a mesh patch or stitches to repair the weakened abdominal wall.
A more invasive alternative involves a larger incision into the stomach. This surgery allows a doctor to view the hernia directly, then make repairs to the damaged tissue.
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