The 40-plus years David Graham spent working in steel mills, pipe shops, railroad and scrap yards took a toll on his body. Muscles weakened by decades of physical labor left him vulnerable to hernias.\nIn March 2014, the New Wilmington resident had surgery to repair an umbilical hernia. Six months later, he had surgery to repair another hernia, followed by additional surgeries in 2015 and 2016 to repair three more hernias. \u00a0\u201cThey just kept popping up,\u201d says David, 64. \u201cIt felt like Velcro ripping.\u201d\nThe Division of General Surgery at UPMC Passavant offers comprehensive and experienced surgical care. Learn more about its services.\u00a0\nA hernia develops when an internal organ pushes through a tear or weak spot in the muscle or tissue holding it in place. Most hernias occur in the abdomen or groin area, and at scars from previous surgeries. Hernia repair surgery \u2014\u00a0one of the nation\u2019s most common general surgery procedures \u2014\u00a0puts the organ back in place and fixes the tear.\nWhen David\u2019s sixth hernia appeared in early 2018, he was referred to Kevin O. Garrett, MD, a board-certified general surgeon and chair of the Department of Surgery at UPMC Passavant, who treats complex hernias, including recurrent incisional hernias.\n\u201cDr. Garrett explained that the muscle kept giving out alongside the incision,\u201d says David. After examining him and reviewing his medical records, Dr. Garrett opted to use traditional open surgery, instead of a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, to repair the hernia, reconstruct the abdominal wall, and insert a mesh, which will eventually dissolve, to provide support during the healing process.\nAlthough it was considered major surgery, the March 26 procedure took less than two hours. David\u2019s wife, Margaret, stayed by his side throughout his week-long recovery at Passavant.\n\u201cDr. Garrett and his team were on top of things and did such a good job of managing his pain,\u201d says Margaret. \u201cThey watched over him and did a great job of explaining things. It was very comforting.\u201d\nDavid returned home to New Wilmington, where he has followed Dr. Garrett\u2019s orders to \u201ctake it easy.\u201d An avid outdoorsman, he has eased back into fishing and looks forward to hunting again in the fall (though he plans to leave the heavy lifting to his younger hunting companions).\n\u201cI feel 100 percent. I\u2019m so grateful to Dr. Garrett for repairing my hernia and the great staff at Passavant for making my entire experience so pleasant,\u201d says David.