Why choose UCLA Health for hernia care?
The Lichtenstein Hernia Institute at UCLA Health is the only facility in the nation devoted exclusively to hernia surgery, research and teaching. A long history of leadership in hernia repair surgery means our expert team offers you accurate diagnoses and effective treatment for all types of hernia.
Highlights of our program include:
Nationally recognized expertise: UCLA Health consistently ranks among the top hospitals in the nation. Our renowned specialists offer world-class hernia care for you or your child.
Personalized care: You and your care team decide on a treatment plan together. Our experienced surgeons tailor their approach to your needs to ensure the best possible outcome. By individualizing your care, we maximize treatment success.
Gold-standard treatment: Our hernia experts developed and popularized a revolutionary surgical procedure to treat hernias: the “tension-free” mesh technique. Now used worldwide, it’s considered the gold standard in the field. Our surgeons expertly perform this technique, creating a strong and permanent hernia repair.
Chronic (long-term) pain expertise: We use precise surgical techniques to minimize your risk of persistent pain after hernia repair. Our team specializes in training and educating other physicians on the best practices for preventing and reducing pain. We can help, even if you’ve had hernia surgery elsewhere and still experience chronic pain.
What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ or other tissue pushes through the muscle that surrounds it, often creating a bulge. The muscle may have a hole or be weakened from strenuous activity or a medical problem.
We offer complete hernia care for infants, children and adults at the Lichtenstein Amid Hernia Clinic . You can rely on our team for:
Multispecialty care: Our team works together with expert gastroenterologists (digestive-tract specialists), radiologists (imaging specialists) and pulmonologists (lung and respiratory-system specialists) to provide you with comprehensive treatment.
Hernia diagnosis: We confirm the presence of a hernia during a physical exam and use imaging tests analyzed by our expert radiologists. You may receive imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI or ultrasound of your abdominal area.
Hernia repair: We specialize in safe, minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgical procedures to fix hernias. These procedures typically result in fewer incisions and a faster recovery.
Emergency hernia surgery: In life-threatening situations, our experienced surgeons perform emergency hernia repairs. We quickly address hernias with severe symptoms and hernias at risk of strangulation (loss of blood supply).
Chronic pain management: You may experience continued pain after hernia surgery for a variety of reasons. Our interventional pain specialists have specific expertise in the prevention and management of chronic pain after hernias. Eligible patients have access to clinical trials designed to identify causes of pain after hernia surgery and offer effective treatments.
Types of hernias we treat
We treat rare and common hernias ranging from mild to severe. Our patients most commonly have:
- Femoral hernias (in the groin and thigh)
- Hiatal hernias (in the chest)
- Inguinal hernias (in the groin)
- Umbilical hernias (near the belly button)
Hernia treatments we offer
Some hernias may not cause symptoms or pose a health risk to you. In this case, our team closely monitors the hernia over time. If the hernia grows or causes symptoms, you and your care team can discuss treatment options.
For hernias that limit your activity, cause symptoms or place you at risk for complications, we provide successful therapies. We offer comprehensive hernia treatment, including medication, surgery and pain management after surgery.
Hiatal hernia treatment
For hiatal hernias, unlike other types, your health care team usually tries a nonsurgical approach first using medication. If medication fails to help, or if you experience complications from a hiatal hernia, you may need surgery.
We aim to relieve your symptoms and prevent complications using medications that control reflux (when acid flows back) and related symptoms. These medications work to:
- Decrease acid production
- Neutralize stomach acidity
- Strengthen the muscle that opens and closes to block stomach acid from coming up into the esophagus (the tube from your mouth to your stomach)
Surgery is the only treatment that permanently repairs a hernia. In most cases, you go home the same day as your surgery.
Our team uses their extensive surgical experience and expertise to treat all types of hernias. We perform hernia surgery in state-of-the-art operating rooms at UCLA Health that allow for advanced and collaborative procedures.
We specialize in:
Open and laparoscopic procedures: An open surgery uses one large incision to repair the hernia. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique that uses three small incisions. Laparoscopic surgery typically results in less scarring and pain, reduced risk of infection and faster recovery than open surgery.
Robot-assisted surgery: With this technique, your surgeon controls the arm of a surgical robot from a control panel. The robotic system smoothly reproduces your surgeon’s movements with greater precision. It also shows your surgeon three-dimensional images during the procedure. We use robot-assisted surgery to repair both mild and complex hernias, and to rebuild the abdominal wall.
Careful nerve handling: To avoid nerve damage, we expertly identify and work around all the nerves that send signals from your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to your body. Our careful attention to your surgical plan significantly reduces your risk of experiencing chronic pain after hernia repair.
Lichtenstein tension-free hernia repair
Surgeons at the Lichtenstein Hernia Institute pioneered the tension-free mesh method. We cover the opening of the hernia with a patch of surgical mesh instead of sewing the muscle back together.
This thin and flexible mesh acts as a bridge for new tissue to grow and reinforces broken or weakened muscle. Within two-to-three weeks, the mesh safely becomes part of your muscle tissue, creating a strong and permanent repair with a low risk of pain over time.
Pain after hernia surgery
Nerve injury, nerve entrapment (compression) or a reaction to surgical mesh may cause severe pain after hernia surgery. Our specialists tailor treatment to your specific needs using a thorough and methodical approach.
We use conservative, nonsurgical treatments for pain when possible. If your condition is severe, our surgeons specialize in procedures for complex causes of pain.
We offer a specialized clinical program to treat this complex and challenging problem. Our team has extensively researched chronic pain after hernia surgery and continues to improve therapies for patients.
Our internationally recognized experts deliver compassionate and effective hernia care. We lead the field, offering advanced surgical techniques and relieving chronic pain after surgery.