A hernia is a bulge or swelling that happens as an inner body part pokes through a weak area of muscle or tissue wall.
What is a hernia?
A hernia means something coming through. It most frequently occurs when an organ or internal tissue pokes through a hole or weakness in your abdominal muscle wall.
In many cases, people have no or very few hernia symptoms. You may notice a swelling or lump in your stomach area or groin. Often you have no hernia pain.
If your hernia causes sudden pain and especially if it can’t be pushed back in, you should seek urgent medical care. It may mean that your hernia is trapped or tightly pinched where it pokes through the muscle wall (obstruction) and in extreme cases it may cut off the blood supply to your intestines and tissues in your abdomen (strangulation).
A hernia is not usually a serious condition but it will not go away without hernia treatment known as a hernia repair.
A hernia can happen in many different areas of the body. The most common, though, is in the abdomen and groin areas.
- Inguinal hernia is one of the two types of hernias that form in the groin.
- Incisional hernia forms along the site of a surgical incision.
- Epigastric hernia is one of the types of abdominal hernias that forms between the belly button and the chest.
- Umbilical hernia forms near the umbilicus or belly button.
- Femoral hernia is one of two types of hernias that form in the groin.
- Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a type of hernia that is present at birth that can allow abdominal organs to slip into the chest cavity.
- Hiatal hernia allows the stomach to slip up into the chest cavity.
What does the hernia surgery involve?
Hernia repair surgery is the world’s most common surgical procedure. Hernia surgery can help to relieve pain, return the hernia abdominal organs to their correct place and, strengthen the weak muscle area.
A hernia operation usually takes around an hour as a day case procedure. It can be performed by:
Open surgery – under local or general anaesthetic, an incision usually around 2.5 to 3 inches is made to your skin near your hernia and your surgeon will push your hernia back into your abdomen. The incision is then either stitched closed or much more commonly a mesh is placed over the hole and fixed using fine stitches. The mesh acts like a scaffold and your own tissue will grow through the mesh to reinforce the weakened area without putting tension on the surrounding tissues.
Keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery – under general anaesthetic, several smaller incisions are made to allow your surgeon to use a less invasive technique using various special instruments including a tiny telescopic camera to repair your hernia. A mesh may then be used to strengthen your abdominal wall.
If hernia surgery is recommended, your surgeon will advise on the most appropriate type of surgery based on the location and severity of your hernia.