A hernia is when an internal part of the body, such as an organ, pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. Usually your muscles are strong and tight enough to keep your intestines and organs in place, but sometimes they aren’t, causing a hernia. A hernia can occur anywhere in the abdomen region. The most common types are:
Inguinal hernia This occurs when tissue (usually part of the intestines) pokes through your lower abdomen.
Femoral hernia This occurs when tissue pokes through into your groin, or the top of your inner thigh.
Incisional hernia This occurs when tissue pokes through a surgical wound or incision that has not fully healed.
Umbilical hernia This occurs when tissue pokes through the part of the abdomen near to the navel (belly button).
Traditional methods of hernia repair involve pulling together the muscle and tissue. This creates tension, causing pain and a longer recovery period. Modern repairs use a synthetic mesh to ‘patch’ the hernia in a tension free manner. These types of repair give very low recurrence rates. Various types of patch or mesh are available, and you can discuss this with your surgeon.
Typically groin hernias can be repaired either laparoscopically (keyhole) or by an open technique. The laparoscopic approach is particularly favoured for recurrent or bilateral (both sides) hernias. Most hernia surgery can be performed as day case surgery, and under local anaesthetic in many cases, depending on your general health.