Ken Kubicek looked to D. Scott Crouch, MD, FACS, to address his hernia before it affected his active lifestyle.
Ken Kubicek first met Dr. Crouch when he needed emergency cholecystectomy two years ago. During the surgery, Dr. Crouch noticed the herniation and told Ken to call him if it ever started bothering him.
The First Sign of the Hernia
"Four years ago, I actually had surgery for prostate cancer in St. Louis," Ken said. "I probably got back to work lifting heavy things too soon. I pushed it to the edge a little bit, and I was doing some lifting and felt a little burn in my abdomen near the scar from the prostate surgery."
Ken noticed the hernia when he was working or standing upright, because it would bulge near his navel. However, it wasn't really causing pain or discomfort, so Ken waited until March 2015 to see Dr. Crouch again.
Dr. Crouch performed a CT scan and found multiple tears. He recommended that Ken have a open-incision surgery rather than a laparoscopic procedure. "He said that initially after the laparoscopic procedure I might be satisfied, but he wanted to make sure he got everything, and that could only be done by doing the open surgery," Ken said.
"Dr. Crouch was outstanding," Ken said. "He showed me a printout of the CT scan and showed me where the tears were and the size of them. He was detailed, but explained things so that a layperson could understand."
From the surgery to the precautions and recovery, Ken recalled that Dr. Crouch was a great teacher who put things in terms that Ken could understand and accept. "He personalized it to make it easy to understand," Ken said.
"A simple mesh patch placed open or laparoscopically would have been easier but, likely, would have failed. In this case, reconstruction of the abdominal wall with a retro-rectus mesh placement to restore the normal anatomy and functionality of the abdominal myofascial planes was a much better option," Dr. Crouch said. "It’s always important to take into consideration the details of the presenting problem and the patient’s expectations post-operatively."
During the surgery, Dr. Crouch found a total of four tears.
Because Ken is active, yet wants to stay proactive about his health and lifestyle, he followed Dr. Crouch's post-surgery instructions "to a T."
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“This case is a good example of how a patient’s participation in their surgical care is so important," Dr. Crouch said. "Throughout the perioperative process, an informed patient with realistic expectations usually has a great outcome and ends up happy.”
"I've been very cautious," Ken said. "And it's been a pretty quick recovery, I think. Within two weeks of the surgery I was out walking a couple of miles a day." He's also recently returned to long-distance biking, and had biked 120 miles in around two weeks when he was interviewed for this story!
Ken, 64, lives in Edwardsville with his wife and daughter (who is entering high school this year). When he's not biking or working around the house, he teaches graduate-level counseling courses at Lindenwood University.