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Facing a Hernia Head-On

A screening session leads Randy Bernhard to hernia repair

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Paul Cesanek, MD
General surgery

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When Macungie resident Randy Bernhard, was first diagnosed with a hernia, he was concerned. Looking back, he admits that his initial fear and anxiety came largely from not knowing anything about hernias.

What he did know was that he had mild pain in the right side of his groin. After first seeing his family doctor, Bernhard met with Paul Cesanek, MD, general and bariatric surgeon with LVPG General, Bariatric and Trauma Surgery. Cesanek diagnosed Bernhard with an inguinal hernia, a condition resulting from soft tissue pushing through a weak area in the lower abdominal wall, or groin.

“Randy was becoming slightly symptomatic from his hernia, but he could delay his repair for a period of time,” Cesanek says. “I believe in educating patients so that they understand what is going on and what to look for while making their decision regarding surgery. Prior to understanding his options, Randy, like many patients, was anxious about undergoing surgical repair for his hernia.”

Hernia education

To learn more, Bernhard attended a hernia screening session offered at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest. The sessions, offered multiple times a year, include an informational presentation, Q&A with surgeons, private hernia screenings, and an opportunity to demo the robotic technology often used for hernia repairs.

“I was amazed at how many people were there, and how many people are dealing with hernias,” Bernhard says. “The clinic was hands-on, and all my questions were answered.”

Making the repair

Armed with information, Bernhard made another appointment with Cesanek and had a robotic repair of his hernia in January 2018, all within two months of the screening session.

“Dr. Cesanek put me right at ease and explained all of my surgical options,” Bernhard says. “I chose to have robotic surgery because it allowed me to heal quickly with minimal time off from work.”

Cesanek admits that while Bernhard’s repair was not critical, he would have limited his repair options if he had waited until it was urgent.

Bernhard credits the screening session for nudging him in the right direction. “I was nervous until I understood what a hernia is and how to take care of it,” Bernhard says. “If I hadn’t gone to that screening, I may have put my hernia surgery off even longer.”

Free hernia info and screening events

To find a list of upcoming events and locations, visit LVHN.org/herniascreening