How do I choose the right surgeon?
Choosing the Right Surgeon is very important because many surgeons perform hernia surgery, but most do not specialize in it.
Studies show that patients who have their surgery performed by a surgeon who specializes in hernia repair have better outcomes. They tend to have better repairs and a lower risk for complications.
Hernia surgery is commonplace, and while not typically life-threatening, complications can occur that can be long lasting and life altering.
As a rule of thumb, I always recommend to patients that no matter what problem they have, they should go and see a doctor who specializes in that problem. If you have diabetes, you should see an endocrinologist. If you have lung problems, see a pulmonologist (lung doctor). If you need heart surgery, see a cardiac (heart) surgeon. And if you have a hernia, you should see a hernia surgeon. Most doctors specialize in the problem or disorder in which they have great interest. Because they have great interest and specialize in that problem, they go to medical meetings that focus on that problem, they belong to medical specialty societies that focus on that problem, and they stay current by reading the specialty journals to stay informed of the latest research. Specialists are therefore the most "up to date" on the problems they treat, have the most experience with that problem, and therefore usually the BEST at treating that problem. If you have a plumbing issue in your home, it is generally better to call a plumber than a handyman. A good handyman generally has experience with plumbing problems and can often fix the problem, but the plumber will have much more experience, have much more knowledge about plumbing problems, will know the best way to fix the problem, and have much more skill in doing so.
Many surgeons perform hernia surgery, but most do not specialize in it. Most general surgeons repair hernias, but most don't repair all types of hernias. Most surgeons perform only one technique for hernia repair for any particular type of hernia, usually the technique that they are most familiar with and therefore the one they are most comfortable with. Though most of the different types of hernia are common, each patient is different, and each hernia is different. It is important to have a great deal of experience, know multiple ways to deal with each case, in other words, to have "more tools in your toolbox," and then have the skill set to apply them.
With regard to hernia surgery, it is very important to get it right the first time. Hernias can always recur (come back), but your best chance of avoiding having another repair of the same hernia is to choose a surgeon with the most experience and best techniques. Hernia surgery is always more difficult the second, or third, or fourth time. In addition, complications do occur, rarely life-threatening, but can cause long lasting pain and disability. As stated, repairing a hernia that has previously been repaired is very difficult, and the more difficult it is, the higher the significant risk for complications becomes. At Advanced Hernia Specialists, we see many patients referred to us who have had failed hernia surgery performed elsewhere and have developed recurrences (sometimes multiple) or complications from surgery, and sometimes both. We perform revision surgery for those patients, and for many of them, it would have been far better for them to have come to us at the beginning.
Medical research studies prove this point. Across the board, according to the studies, the recurrence (the hernia comes back) after the first repair can occur in as many as 15-30% of patients (depending on the type of hernia and the type of repair). Multiple studies have shown that the recognized reasons of recurrence were lack of surgical experience, technical errors, inadequate mesh size, inadequate fixation of mesh, and overlooked or missed hernias (so not even repaired in the first place). Technical errors are found to be responsible in nearly all incidences of recurrence. Conversely, the studies also show that patients who have their hernia repaired at a center that specializes in hernia repair, by a surgeon that specializes in hernia repair, typically have much better outcomes, with a much lower recurrence rate, and a much lower complication rate.
At Advanced Hernia Specialists, we specialize in hernia repair and are experts in the field of hernia surgery. We have over 20 years of experience and are committed to delivering excellent care and the best patient outcomes possible. Though all surgery is associated with a risk of complications, our rate of complication is significantly below the national average.
So, as you can see, when it comes to the treatment of hernias, it is very important to choose a surgeon with knowledge of the field, experience, and the best surgical skills.
Choose your surgeon wisely!
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