A hernia occurs when tissue or part of an organ, usually the intestines, protrudes through the abdominal wall. Hernias do not heal on their own. In surgical repair surgery, the surgeon pushes the protruding tissue back into place and repairs the weakened area that allowed it to protrude. This may be done with surgical mesh or by using the patient's own tissue. Hernia surgery may be done as open abdominal surgery or as a laparoscopic procedure. It not only alleviates pain, it prevents the hernia from becoming incarcerated or strangulated, either of which is an emergency situation. Hernia surgery is among the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States.