Hernia – Inguinal, Incisional, Femoral & Umbilical
What is a hernia?
An inguinal or femoral hernia is a weakness or defect on the abdominal wall in the groin area. Internal organs may push through the weakness or defect causing discomfort, pain and a noticeable bulge. The anatomy of a hernia can be compared to a bulge in the inner tube of a tyre. When the tyre is damaged, the inner tube pushes and bulges through the opening of the tyre. Similarly, when a hernia occurs, the inner layer of the abdominal wall may push against and through the abdominal wall defect. In some cases, a hernia may cause only slight discomfort whereas in other cases, a hernia may block digestion and may cause severe pain requiring immediate medical attention.
Some hernias may be acquired hernias, while others are caused by a congenital weakness, which means a weakness that you can be born with.
- Acquired hernias may be caused by lifting heaving objects, extreme weight gain or persistent coughing.
- An incisional hernia occurs at the site of a previous surgical incision.
- An umbilical hernia occurs at the navel.
- An indirect inguinal hernia occurs in the groin at the internal ring.
- A direct inguinal hernia occurs in the groin near the internal ring.
- A femoral hernia occurs just below the groin.
- An epigastric hernia occurs in the upper abdomen at the midline.
How is it treated?
Whether your hernia is a congenital or acquired, surgery is the only way to repair your hernia. Two types of hernia repair surgery:
- Open surgery is performed by cutting through the abdominal wall to reach the hernia defect. The incision can range from 7cm to 15cm in length.
- In keyhole hernia repair, a laparoscope is used. Three small incisions are made to allow the doctor to see through a laparoscope whilst they operate inside the body. These incisions are made between the groin and navel and can range from 0.6cm to 1.3cm, minimising post-operative discomfort and scarring prompting fast healing and allowing for a quicker return to normal activities.