Comprehensive Hernia Program

Institutes & Services > TriHealth Surgical Institute

Comprehensive and personalized care for the best outcomes

A hernia is one of the most common conditions affecting more than 5 million Americans. The highly skilled surgeons of the TriHealth Comprehensive Hernia Program focus on the repair of all types of hernias, using both open and minimally invasive methods.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a hole or defect in the abdominal muscular wall which allows internal tissue to protrude or ‘stick out’, usually creating a bulge. Hernias may or may not cause pain but they do pose the risk of having intestinal or fatty tissue become trapped. Hernias do not go away without treatment and surgery is the only treatment.

See More Frequently Asked Questions About Hernias Here.

Surgeons with expertise in hernia repair

When faced with needing hernia surgery, patients would be well served to select an experience surgeon who is going to help them achieve the best outcome. Through the TriHealth Comprehensive Hernia Program, patients reap the benefits of surgical expertise through:

Individualized care.With each surgical hernia repair, our surgeons create a personalized care plan for the patient to avoid reoccurrence and ensure the best outcome.

High volume = better outcomes. Research demonstrates that surgeons who specialize in a particular type of surgery and perform high volumes have better outcomes. With a unique interest in hernia repairs, our dedicated surgeons perform nearly 1,000 hernia repairs annually.

Comprehensive care. Optimal recovery is enhanced through necessary pre- and post-op care.

Widespread experience. Our surgeons are well-versed experts in every type of hernia treatment, from routine hernia repairs to the most complex cases, such as recurrent hernias.


What sets TriHealth’s Hernia Center apart?

Since the late 1990’s, the care of the hernia patient has evolved dramatically.There have been significant advances in perioperative care and surgical technique of hernia patients. At the TriHealth Comprehensive Hernia Center, we have a strong interest in pre-habilitation, minimally invasive hernia repair (both laparoscopic and robotic), complex hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction, and postoperative rehabilitation of hernia patients. We have the most advanced preoperative optimization techniques to care for hernia patients with significant comorbid conditions including diabetes, tobacco use, collagen disorders, and obesity.

In addition, we are the only the institution in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to participate in the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative data registry. This gives us access to national data, which provides us with cutting edge, real time information for the care of our hernia patients. This database also supports ongoing and future research opportunities for the hernia Center. Our location at the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion in Cincinnati gives us unique access to medical and surgical weight management teams, dietitians, diabetic programs, athletic trainers and physical therapists all under one roof.

Our unique panel of surgeons has made hernia repair a significant focus of their practice and they are dedicated to the care of hernia patients.


Physician consults

Patients are seen in the new TriHealth Comprehensive Hernia Center, located in the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion in Blue Ash.

Surgery procedures

Most surgeries are performed in the newly renovated Minimally Invasive Surgery Center on the campus of Bethesda North Hospital.

Conditions treated

Although there are many types of hernias, our surgeons are current on the latest options to treat all types of hernias.

Inguinal hernia—the most common type of hernia, occurs in the groin.

Ventral hernia—Less common than inguinal hernias, they occur outside the inguinal area involving the muscular wall of the abdomen elsewhere.

Incisional hernia—occurs as a result of a defect that develops in an incision from a previous abdominal surgery.

Hiatal hernia—occurs in the diaphragm, the large muscle separating the chest cavity and the abdomen.

Femoral hernia—occurs in the low groin and is more common in women.

Umbilical hernia—occurs at the belly button.

Epigastric hernia—a small but usually painful bulge between the belly button and the lower edge of the ribs in the midline area

Sports hernia – Sports hernia is a condition of chronic exercise-related supra-inguinal groin pain which is associated with an incipient direct bulge of the inguinal wall whenever the abdominal muscles contract forcefully.

Specialized treatment plans and surgical options

Our surgeons will perform a thorough evaluation of each patient before developing the individualized plan that will be most effective. This may include recommendations to help the patient improve their overall health prior to having surgery to allow them the greatest chance for a successful repair. These multi-disciplinary optimization plans could include things like exercise, nutrition and weight loss which are supported by appropriate providers through the program. It may also allow the opportunity to participate in an ongoing research project the program supports.

During the personal consultation with your surgeon, the following surgical techniques may be discussed to determine the best treatment options for you:

Open (with an incision) repairs

  • Suture Repair - Some smaller hernia defects may be repaired with only a few stitches
  • Mesh– The surgical area is reinforced with mesh that allows for greater tissue healing and strength. It results in a more lasting repair with a lower rate of recurrence.

Minimally invasive

  • Laparoscopic repairs - This type of minimally invasive repair often is performed through three to four small incisions (usually a half-inch or less).
  • Robotic repairs – Similar to laparoscopic, robotic repair uses advanced instruments controlled by the surgeon. This enables more types of complex hernias to be repaired with minimally invasive techniques.

Strengthening Your Core Before Hernia Repair

Expectations After Inguinal Hernia Repair

Explore Frequently Asked Questions About Hernias

Meet Our Team

As members of the American Hernia Society, the TriHealth Comprehensive Hernia Program physicians bring an unparalleled focus to the treatment of hernias to Cincinnati patients. They are dedicated to the treatment of and the research into advancements for hernia repairs of all types.

Robert Bradley MD  

Robert Bradley, MD, is board certified in general surgery and specializes in the treatment of hernias using open, laparoscopic and robotic approaches, including component separation open and robotically. He has spent considerable amount of time focusing on hernia surgery and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in techniques. He also has expertise in the management of hiatal hernias. Dr. Bradley takes an active role in the training of the next generation of surgeons. He has been in practice for 14 years.

Stuart Donovan MD  

Stuart Donovan, MD, program director, is a board certified general surgeon in practice for more than 25 years, focusing on minimally invasive hernia repair (both laparoscopic and robotic), complex hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction for more than 10 years. He has taught courses and given presentations on hernia surgery regionally, nationally and internationally. In addition to being an active member of the Americans Hernia Society, he has been president of the Bethesda North Hospital medical staff and is presently the chair for the department of surgery at Bethesda North. He also helps improve our community’s health by training the next generation of surgeons as a residency program faculty member and site director.

Bryan Ellis

Bryan Ellis, DO assistant program director, is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and over the last 12 years, has been specializing in minimally invasive hernia repairs including laparoscopic and robotic surgery as well as complex abdominal wall reconstruction. Dr. Ellis participates in the American Hernia Society Quality Collaborative data registry. He is actively running research trials in pre- and post-operative exercise programs with hernia surgery. He also has a focus in sports hernia management and surgery. During his time in practice, he has served in multiple medical staff positions at Bethesda North Hospital including the chairman of the department of surgery and surgical residency site director. He is currently an active member of the teaching faculty of the surgical residency. Dr. Ellis has been in practice for 17 years.

Kshitij Kakar, MD, completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Case Western Reserve University. He has expertise in minimally invasive foregut surgery, including hiatal hernia, paraesophageal hernia and anti-reflux surgery. He also specializes in minimally invasive hernia repairs and complex abdominal wall reconstruction. He performs surgery using open, laparoscopic and robotic techniques. He participates in training surgical residents. Dr. Kakar has been in practice for five years.

Katherine Meister, MD  

Katherine Meister, MD, is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. Following her general surgery training, she completed a fellowship in Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. She is trained in minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) and open hernia repair techniques. She has expertise in hernia repairs of the diaphragm and stomach (hiatal hernia, paraesophageal hernia). She also performs weight loss surgery, which can aid in the success of hernia repairs in patients with morbid obesity. Dr. Meister is the associate program director of the TriHealth general surgery residency and is actively involved in surgical education and training future surgeons. She has published numerous journal articles and textbook chapters and is actively involved in ongoing research.s.

Kevin Tymitz MD  

Kevin Tymitz, MD, is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in minimally invasive hernia repair techniques (laparoscopic and robotic) and complex open repairs with abdominal wall reconstruction and removal of excess abdominal skin. He has expertise in hernia repairs of the stomach, esophagus and diaphragm, as well as weight loss surgery. His fellowship training, active involvement in multiple societies and teaching on a national level also make him an well-known expert in surgery of the foregut. This includes repair of hernias involving the stomach, esophagus and diaphragm (hiatal hernias) and also weight loss surgery (gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy) to aid in the success of hernia repair in the morbidly obese population. Dr. Tymitz is associate program director of TriHealth’s surgical residency program, where he is in charge of simulation, laparoscopic and robotic training. He also works closely with industry leaders to develop new and innovative laparoscopic and robotic instrumentation and surgical techniques. He has published numerous journal articles and textbook chapters and currently is conducting a study evaluating laparoscopic and robotic hernia repair and the impact on post-operative pain. Dr. Tymitz has been in practice for six years.

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