A hernia is a bulge or weakness in the muscles which form the front of the body wall. They are very common and easily treated. However, if left, they can get bigger, cause pain and can lead to obstruction in the bowel. Hernias may present in many places but the most common site is in the groin or around the umbilicus (Belly button). Groin hernias can occur on either or both sides of the body, they are caused by the body wall being weak from birth, or by over straining oneself by coughing, heavy work or sport.
Repair can be done using a surgical mesh, which addresses the defect without tension. Patients experience a lot less pain, quicker recovery time and a lower failure rate. Most operations are done in under an hour, and patients are allowed to go home the same day. The operation can be done either by open surgery or using more modern keyhole (laparoscopic) techniques.
There are several types of hernia, which are classified in relation to where, when and how they occur:
- Inguinal hernias are the most common and are often called a groin rupture. These are more often associated with men than women and appear as a bulge in the groin or scrotum.
- Femoral hernia
- Incisional hernia
- Umbilical hernia
- Congenital hernia
Symptoms of a hernia can include the feeling that something has given way, pain which wears off and a lump which gets bigger as you cough. If you think that you may have a hernia, you should seek medical advice to confirm the diagnosis. The correct and most suitable route for the repair of a patient’s hernia will be discussed, and agreed, on an individual basis.