SANANTONIO -- There s good news for patients undergoing a common procedure. Doctors have a new tool to help them repair hernias.

A hernia is an opening in the muscles of the abdomen. They can cause bulging and pain. Now, thanks to a new kind of surgical implant, hernia repair means fixing the problem without creating any new ones.

Hernia repair is an outpatient procedure at Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio. It s usually a minimally-invasive surgery.

Even so, 53-year-old Dr. Landon Wellford wasn t ready for it when he tried to keep up with his weightlifting teenaged son.

I m like, move over. I ll show you how it s done, he recalled. Oh my. I mean, I felt the hernia pop just like that.

Wellford ended up in the operating room where doctors used a new kind of mesh to patch his problem. It s made out of material similar to sutures, the threads used to make stitches. It s so thin that the tissue of the lining of the abdomen actually grows into it. It mimics the body s natural tissue, so the implant doesn t create any kind of pulling sensations after healing.

A hernia is a hole where things go through that aren t supposed to go through there, said Dr. Mike Albrecht. So the mesh actually covers the hole. It reinforces our own barriers.

The PhysioMesh, as it s called, is a flexible synthetic composite. Wellford said that new product combined with advanced pain therapy after surgery made it easier for him to heal.

During the entire post-op course I took, I think, three Tylenol, Wellford stated. That was it. And it s been a good decision. I don t even know it s there.

Last month, Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio launched its Hernia Center. The three surgeons who run it try to get patients in and out and back on their feet within two weeks.
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