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If you've ever experienced a hernia, you know they can be uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes a serious medical emergency. A hernia is a tear in your muscle or tissue that allows internal organs to bulge through. If severe, hernias can cause internal organs or tissues to become blocked or infected. The surgeons of University Surgical Associates (USA) have been treating both simple and complex hernias for more than 40 years. Now they are creating easier access for patients to receive expert hernia care with the newly-launched USA Hernia Center, which includes seven office locations across the Chattanooga region.

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 "Hernias are one of the most common surgical procedures – and there can be many different ways to approach the repair. Our goal with the USA Hernia Center is to provide the highest quality care, and by staying on top of the latest education, surgical techniques and quality data, we can offer the procedures that lead to the very best outcomes for our patients," says Darren Hunt, MD, general surgeon with the USA Hernia Center. "When we all subscribe to the appropriate standard of care, we reduce the likelihood of infection and recurrence while helping people get back to life or work faster and with less pain."

Because surgery is the only way to correct a hernia, several options, including open surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and robotic hernia repair, may be considered. Today, most hernias can be treated through minimally invasive procedures that are performed through small incisions in the abdomen. Smaller incisions may help with faster recovery time.

For some patients, hernia repair isn't completely straightforward, which is why the USA Hernia Center includes collaboration with select area providers. If your surgeon recommends that you lose weight before the procedure, the Hernia Center connects you with a dietician that will help you develop a plan for consistent and sustained weight loss. Patients who have scarring from a previous hernia surgery can see a plastic surgeon who works together with USA hernia surgeons to provide the best possible cosmetic outcome. This multi-disciplinary approach to hernia repair sets the USA Hernia Center apart from others offering hernia repair procedures.

"We have 11 dedicated surgeons who are focused on the most modern standard of care when it comes to hernia repair. When patients see one of us, they can expect the highest quality and that their procedure will be customized based on their personal risk factors and health condition," says Craig Murray, MD, general surgeon with the USA Hernia Center. "For individuals who are not yet candidates for surgery because of their body mass index, smoking or uncontrolled diabetes, we can help them take appropriate steps that lead to effective and lasting hernia repair in the future."

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According to Dr. Hunt, one emphasis of the USA Hernia Center is to ensure patients are educated about their hernias from the beginning. Some hernias are simple to repair, others are complex because of their size, previous surgical incision or because of a person's genetic predisposition to developing hernias. Working together with your surgeon and understanding what you should and shouldn't do after surgery until you're completely healed is the best path to a positive outcome.

"We've been doing a great job caring for this community for many years but we recognize that there's always opportunity for greater standardization and continued improvement," says Dr. Hunt. "The Hernia Center is one more way USA is putting our patients' needs first. Through high quality, evidence-based surgical care, we are helping people get back to living a full and active lifestyle."

Many insurance companies allow for self-referrals for hernia consultation. The USA Hernia Center will work with you to determine what information is required and help obtain a referral from your primary care physician if one is needed. They will also help you select an office location and surgeon. Call 423-757-0895 to schedule an appointment.

USA Hernia Center provides comprehensive hernia care for the Chattanooga region. We offer procedures to treat hiatal hernia, inguinal hernia, femoral hernia, parastomal hernia, umbilical hernia and ventral hernia. 

USA Hernia Center Physician Staff

The surgeons at the USA Hernia Center perform hundreds of hernia repair procedures each year and are experts in determining which procedure is right for each individual based on their unique medical history and associated risk factors. Understanding the risk of recurrence and doing everything possible to minimize that risk is one key benefit of the program.

W. Todd Cockerham, MD, FACS
Benjamin W. Dart IV, MD, FACS
Stephen H. Greer, MD

John C. Huggins, MD
Darren J. Hunt, MD, FACS
Robert J. Jean, MD, FACS

Benjamin E. Kellogg, MD, FACS
Robert A. Maxwell, MD, FACS
Vicente A. Mejia, MD, FACS
Craig A. Murray, MD, FACS
Craig S. Swafford, MD, FACS

Noteworthy:

 "Hernias are one of the most common surgical procedures – and there can be many different ways to approach the repair. Our goal with the USA Hernia Center is to provide the highest quality care, and by staying on top of the latest education, surgical techniques and quality data, we can offer the procedures that lead to the very best outcomes for our patients." Darren Hunt, MD

For more information:
To learn more, contact University Surgical Associates at 423-757-0895 to schedule an appointment.

For more information:

To learn more, contact University Surgical Associates at 423-757-0895 to schedule an appointment.

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