CHI Me­mo­rial to of­fer free her­nia screen­ings

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - OBITUARIES - BY EL­IZ­ABETH FITE STAFF WRITER Con­tact staff writer El­iz­abeth Fite at [email protected]­freep­ or 423-757-6673.

Any­one can de­velop a her­nia — a bulge or weak­ness usu­ally from a mus­cle de­fect — and if left un­re­paired the con­se­quences can be dan­ger­ous.

Dr. Daniel Hei­thold, a gen­eral sur­geon with CHI Me­mo­rial Sur­gi­cal As­so­ciates, said many peo­ple liv­ing with her­nias are un­sure about how or when to un­dergo treat­ment. Hei­thold, along with other CHI Me­mo­rial sur­geons, will host a free com­mu­nity event Wed­nes­day from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m to of­fer screen­ings, field ques­tions and ex­plain treat­ment op­tions for this com­mon con­di­tion.

Her­nias are usu­ally found in the ab­domen or groin re­gion and rarely heal on their own. Screen­ings for hi­atal her­nias that cause heart­burn will not be avail­able.

“Of­ten times, peo­ple may know they have a her­nia and the [pri­mary care doc­tor] may say to watch it, so those peo­ple for sure can get a sec­ond opin­ion,” Hei­thold said. “We like to find them and re­pair them on an elec­tive ba­sis ver­sus wait­ing for a po­ten­tially sig­nif­i­cant com­pli­ca­tion that may al­ter their treat­ment op­tions.”

If surgery is re­quired, it’s gen­er­ally done as an out­pa­tient pro­ce­dure and re­quires min­i­mal re­cov­ery.

Dr. James Lovette, a gen­eral sur­geon who will also be at the event, said just be­cause some­one has a her­nia doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it has to be fixed, but the event is an op­por­tu­nity to ask.

“Any­body can come if they think they have a her­nia,” Lovette said. “Be­cause it is free, we’re hop­ing that peo­ple who are un­der­served or un­der­in­sured or unin­sured can know about it, and if they think they have one, that’d be an op­por­tu­nity for them to come get checked out.”

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