About the Program

The Center for Hernia Repair & Abdominal Wall Reconstruction is comprised of expert surgeons and a multidisciplinary team of specialists providing state-of-the-art treatment for all types of hernias, from the simple to the most technically challenging. The treatment team is led by Hobart W. Harris, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Chief of the Division of General Surgery and Director of the Infection Injury and Immunity Lab at UCSF. Dr. Harris is a pioneer and leader in the management and repair of complex ventral (incisional) hernias. As a physician-scientist, his research is geared toward improving surgical techniques including the mesh materials used in surgical repair with the goal of decreasing the rate of occurrence and recurrence of ventral hernias. 

High Volume Hernia Center

The Center is the leading tertiary referral center for hernia surgery in the region performing nearly 700 procedures annually, including 350 ventral hernias cases. The Center performs hernia repairs laparoscopically, whenever possible, using minimally invasive techniques leading to shorter hosptial stays, less pain at the incision and a faster return to normal activities.  Research has demonstrated that high-volume experience results in better patient outcomes. Our surgeons have all undergone rigorous advanced training in hernia surgery and abdominal wall reconstruction. We also specialize in the treatment of rare, difficult to diagnose hernias such as flank (lumbar) and Spigelian hernias, conditions that often require extra vigilance and expert management.

Multidisciplinary Hernia Treatment Team

The UCSF program is one of the few in the region that offers seamless multidisciplinary care for complex hernia repair. This includes gastrointestinal surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, specialists in wound care, intensive-care medicine, and nutritional and physical rehabilitation.

Complex Abdominal Wall Reconstructions 

Our hernia surgeons perform intricate abdominal wall reconstruction in complex cases such as hernias arising from enterocutaneous fistulas or in the management of difficult to treat mesh-related infections arising from a failed hernia repair. Reconstruction of the abdominal wall is also required for giant ventral hernias utilizing advanced surgical techniques such as preoperative progressive pneumoperitoneum, a procedure that stretches the muscles of the abdominal cavity prior to hernia repair with the goal of avoiding intraoperative and postoperative complications. 

Recurrent Hernias

As one of the largest referral centers in the region, our surgeons regularly treat patients with recurrent hernias. Many have had several hernia repairs, none of which were successful or in which the hernia recurred years later.

Patient-Centered Care

Our team provides highly personalized, advanced surgical care tailored to the needs of each patient, the goal to identify the most appropriate surgical option where the result will be durable and long-lasting. Most hernia repairs at UCSF can be done laparoscopically with tiny incisions, leading to a faster recovery, less pain and a more rapid return to normal activities. 

At the Forefront of Hernia Research

Our surgeons are active in clinical and basic science research, an effort aimed at reducing the incidence and recurrence of incisional hernias, refining surgical techniques, and improving mesh materials used in hernia repair.

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