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Why imaging scans do not always reveal hernias

Nov 28, 2016 | Surgical Errors

New York residents might be interested to know that the 2016 Americas Hernia Society shed light on ways for medical professionals to better diagnosis inguinal hernias found in the small and large bowels of patients. CT scans diagnosed only seven percent of occult hernias and 25 percent of palpable inguinal hernias while MRIs found 33 percent of occult hernias and 41 percent of palpable hernias.

The reason it is more difficult to diagnose occult inguinal hernias might not have anything to do with the small size of the hernias. According to reports, most surgeons and radiologists believe that occult inguinal hernias do not cause abdominopelvic pain, so small hernias are dismissed as what causes a patient’s issues.

The radiologist who evaluated the reports noted that those in radiology can spot and note what looks like pathologic inguinal hernias since they are more likely to be linked to a patient’s pain. However, radiologists do not think that occult inguinal hernias are pathologic. In fact, when fat-containing inguinal hernias are reported by radiologists, they tend to be more incidental rather than deliberate. One way to improve the rate of finding occult hernias is by having general surgeons order imaging tests until the results match the patient’s symptoms.

Treating inguinal hernias typically involves routine procedures, but delayed surgery might occur if a medical professional deems a small hernia irrelevant. When a patient suffers or his or her condition worsens because of the negligent action or inaction of physicians, a patient or loved one might want to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer to file a claim for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, a lawyer could bring in expert testimony to help strengthen a victim’s claim.