Published on June 10, 2019

Steve's Hernia Story (Surgery on 3 Hernias)

Hernias were no match for Steve's active lifestyle.

Not one—but three—hernias were the last thing on Steve Wolf’s mind.

Steve Wolf, Hernia Surgery Stamford Health's Hernia Center, Patient StoryIf Steve could give one piece of advice to anyone diagnosed with a hernia and on the fence about seeking further medical care or treatment, it would be, “Get it [taken care of] as soon as possible. Don’t wait.”

Steve, an advertising professional and Ridgefield, CT resident of 20 years, describes himself as always being in good health and having “very little issues” most of his life. When two inguinal hernias in the groin area and one umbilical hernia in the belly button started to interfere with his active routine, he knew it was time to seek treatment.

Steve recalls well over a year ago a visit to his family physician who discovered a hernia in his belly button, or an umbilical hernia. This type of hernia didn’t cause any pain, so he decided to put off treatment for the foreseeable future.

When it comes to hernia pain, Dr. William Symons, Vice Chair, Surgery, Medical Director, Hernia Surgery, clarifies: “The first thing many patients ask is why they don’t have any obvious hernia pain. A hernia is a small hole in the abdominal wall. It is only if the tissue that is moving through the hole becomes stuck or partially stuck that pain occurs. This pain is from decreased blood flow to that tissue. The problem is, it’s not always possible to tell when the tissue will get stuck, which makes it difficult to predict if or when pain will occur. I always, always say at the very least, hernias should be examined regularly by a physician with expertise in the field.”

Sure enough, about a year later, Steve began to have pains associated with two inguinal hernias in addition to the umbilical hernia he already had. He even jokes that it’s easier to say he had two “linguini,” not inguinal, hernias.

“I went from doing everything to not being able to do… anything,” Steve recalls. “I knew I had to get this fixed. I certainly didn’t want to continue living my life that way.”

Steve seeks hernia treatment from Dr. Symons

Steve had heard of Dr. Symons of the Hernia Center by word of mouth and had nothing but the utmost confidence in his ability to treat all three hernias. “It seemed like a no-brainer to go with Dr. Symons,” he affirms. He also had a special alumni bond with Dr. Symons as they were both graduates of Washington University in Saint Louis, MO.

“I explained to Steve that there was a weakening in his stomach wall and his intestines were protruding. This is, in the truest sense, a classic description of a hernia. Every hernia is different, and every treatment plan is tailored to each individual. In Steve’s case, we decided that a minimally invasive approach (robotic surgery) was the best course of action. By using this approach, we could fix all 3 hernias through 3 small incisions each about as wide as a pencil head, less than a cm in size. The 3D vision with robotic surgery combined with the ultra-precise movements and small incisions lead to decreased pain after surgery and quicker return to normal activity. This allows patients like Steve to do and focus on all of things that matter most in their lives.”

Steve was thrilled Dr. Symons was able to fix everything “in one shot,” just this past May (2019). Within just a week, he felt like himself again. Post hernia surgery, Steve affirms he’s “doing great.” He’s continuing his commute into Manhattan and remains an avid cycler.

“I was impressed with the operating room,” Steve remarks. “It was so high-tech, I thought I was on the Star Trek Holodeck. I know the true talent of the surgeons and nurses is what really matters, but it helps to know the [Hernia Center] team has the latest and greatest in technology to assist in patients’ care.”

Steve concludes, “Dr. Symons and his entire support staff were excellent. Everybody, from the front desk to the operating room, was incredibly nice. My care with Stamford Health was seamless from start to finish.”