Recognizing the Signs of Hernias Before it's Too Late

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Hernias affect millions of people each year, and can even kill those who don't give them the attention they deserve. 

This week, one of the countries' top robotic surgeons tells us about the harm hernias can have on our bodies if we ignore them. 

When part of an organ or tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a nearby muscle, that immediate pain is a hernia. 

Hernias are a sudden onset of severe abdominal pain. They occur almost equally between men and women, but happen most frequently to those overweight or those who have had several abdominal surgeries already.

"Previous incisions on the abdomen are a real risk factor for developing those hernias," Dr. Jason Cundiff, a Bay Medical general surgeon. 

Dr. Jason Cundiff used the Da Vinci robotic technology to remove a hernia this week.

"The gentlemen was 85-years-old, he had the hernia for a while," Cundiff said.

He performs these surgeries every day. This one was successful, but the patient made a mistake that too many people do.

"He waited longer than he should have because the hernia was getting larger," he said.

Dr. Cundiff can't stress urgency enough. 

"Getting a hernia repaired when it's early and not letting a catastrophe happen," he said.

Waiting can be life threatening. "It's not something you sit on and say 'I'll just see how it does," he said.

He said avoiding the problem will make it worse.

The doctor suggests anyone with even minor abdominal pain that won't go away to get it checked by a physician. 

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