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Shaping the Future of Complex Hernia Care

A complex case is giving new hope to patients with severe hernias. Dr. Andy Yang tackled the challenging case, showcasing the expertise happening at the Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Center of Excellence at CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy.

A patient in his 60s sought out the center after battling hernia issues for over 20 years, with multiple surgeries that unfortunately didn't solve the problem. He was seen by Dr. Yang, a Creighton-trained general surgeon specializing in complex hernia surgery.

“This was probably one of the most complicated cases I’ve seen,” said Dr. Yang. “They didn’t know their problem was that extensive and it required a specialized, multidisciplinary team to help address the problem.”

The surgery involved a careful, two-stage process, first clearing up an ongoing infection and then reconstructing the abdominal wall. Dr. Yang described the repair technique, known as retrorectus mesh repair, as offering the best chance of success, thanks to its strength and strategic placement behind the muscle.

“We had to proceed with a staged repair to address the infection first and then come back and fix this hernia later.”

Three months after the surgery, the patient's recovery is on track - another  example of the life-changing surgeries performed regularly at CUMC-Bergan Mercy, and at the hands of Dr. Yang and Dr. Robert Fitzgibbons. Dr. Fitzgibbons, who has devoted more than four decades to clinical research and practice in abdominal wall reconstruction, has been instrumental in guiding Dr. Yang.

“We are lifelong learners,” Dr. Yang shared, reflecting on his partnership with Dr. Fitzgibbons. “I’m just grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Fitzgibbons and be able to provide excellent care to these patients to help address their issues.”

The Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Center of Excellence at CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy has successfully treated thousands of patients since its establishment in 2009. The center offers a high-level of specialized care close to home.

“A lot of patients sent to us have multiple failed efforts to fix their hernias and some have been dealing with the issue for decades. What we do for patients is life altering. We can certainly take care of their problems, such as pain, multiple episodes of bowel blockage and overall improve their quality of life.”

For anyone interested in learning more or seeking a second opinion, Dr. Yang and his team are ready and willing to help. To refer a patient or seek a consultation, please contact us at (402) 717-4900.

Dr. Andy Yang

About Dr. Yang

Andy Yang, MD, PhD, MBA joined CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy in 2023 as a general surgeon. He trained under Dr. Fitzgibbons, Former Chair of the Department of Surgery at Creighton University School of Medicine. Dr. Yang offers a robotic approach to many hernias and aims to carry on the clinical and research work on complex abdominal wall hernias.