Sentara Hosts Helpful Hernia Screenings

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By Helena Tavares Kennedy

Some people don’t even realize they have a hernia until they are checked out by a doctor. Some patients experience nausea, groin pain or a bulge that they can feel through the skin, but some have no symptoms at all when they have a hernia. That is why a hernia screening is so important and why Sentara is offering free hernia screenings over the next few months.

What is a hernia? A hernia occurs when tissue or organs squeeze through muscle or tissue. The four most common types of hernias are umbilical (belly button), inguinal (inner groin), femoral (outer groin), hiatal (upper stomach) and incisional (resulting from an incision).

What is a hernia screening? Patients make an appointment with one of the hernia specialists at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge where “basically a ‘mini’ visit/exam is done after a group explanation about hernias and surgery using the da Vinci robot that assists with the repair of the hernia at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center,” said Diane Kerrick, Practice Manager with the Sentara Surgery Specialists.

The hernia screenings are conducted right on site at the hospital’s Surgery Center which enables the patient to meet the physician, get some information and find out if they have a hernia. “If they do have a hernia, we will be able set them up for a proper consultation in the office and even give them a date for the surgery while they are there, making it as easy and efficient as possible for the patient,” said Kerrick.

Fixing a hernia is quite high-tech and much improved than past surgery techniques, thanks to Sentara’s da Vinci robot that helps surgeons with the hernia surgery. Some studies have shown that the robotic-assisted hernia repair results in less pain and may get home from the hospital quicker.

“The use of the da Vinci robotic system enables us to see the structures in greater detail and which can then lead to less trauma to the tissues,” said Dr. Steven K. Nakao, M.D., F.A.C.S. from Sentara Surgery Specialists. “We have seen a significant decrease in the post-op pain and use of narcotic prescriptions after robotic repairs with a faster recovery.”

Sentara Surgery Specialists is a group of board-certified surgeons that strive to provide exceptional customer experiences and the most current and innovative surgical practices available. Sentara physicians believe in an integrated, coordinated, and responsive approach to patient care, and will work with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan.

The next hernia screening is March 17, 2018, Saturday from 8:30 – 11:15 a. m. at the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, but patients must register in advance and space is limited. Additional hernia screenings will be held Saturday April 14, 2018, and May 19, 2018 from 8:30-11:15 a. m. as well. To register, please contact 1-800-SENTARA or 1-800-736-8272.

Sentara is a progressive and integrated healthcare organization with various locations in Prince William County. They are dedicated to providing leading medical experts, advanced technology and continuous innovation to improve health every day. For more information, visit


Helena Tavares Kennedy is a Contributing Writer for Prince William Living.


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