The most commonly found hernia is an inguinal hernia. A hernia is caused by an internal part of the body protruding through a weak spot in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. You would usually find a hernia between your chest and hips.
Hernias can cause no or very few symptoms. However, more commonly you may find that you have noticeable swelling or a lump in your groin. You might find that you can push the hernia back in so that it disappears when you are lying down and reappears when you stand or partake in activity. Hernias can entrap bowel and can enlarge over time so restricting your activities and for these reasons surgical repair is most often advocated.
What are the different types of hernias?
Inguinal hernia: This is the most common type of hernia, which usually affects men. This type of hernia can be found in the inner groin area, caused by the intestine protruding through the abdominal wall.
Femoral hernia: This type of hernia can be found by the upper thigh/outer groyne area, in a passage called the femoral canals. This type of hernia is much less common, however, it is far more likely to occur in women than in men. If a femoral hernia is not repaired this can cause risks and complications.
Umbilical hernias: This type of hernia develops around the belly button. It can cause pain and soreness and be unsightly.
What are the types of hernia operation options?
Often Hernias require a hernia operation for it to be treated and removed, although a Hiatal hernia can often just be treated with medication. There are two types of hernia operation options available:
Laparoscopic hernia surgery: A small camera is used for laparoscopic surgery, which is inserted through a small incision at belly button. This kind of hernia operation is performed under general anaesthesia as a day case. The small camera allows the surgeon a view and small instruments through 2 separate puncture sites (ports) allow the surgeon to place a to cover the weakness in the abdominal wall. This is so that the tissue can then become strong once again. This type of surgery will allow less scarring, which also means less pain after your surgery and a quicker return to activities. There is less of a risk of chronic discomfort compared with open surgery
Open hernia surgery: An incision or cut is made in the groin over the weakness. The hernia is pushed back into place into the abdomen and the abdominal wall would then be strengthened through stitching and a mesh. The procedure is most usually performed as a day case. Strenous activity and exercise is restricted for 4-6 weeks after your surgery.
What are the alternative options to a hernia operation?
Sometimes it is advised to just keep an eye on your hernia and wait, which can be an alternative to a hernia operation if it is causing minimal or no symptoms. And if the patient is very elderly, frail and inactive. Interestingly research shows that 70% of men with inguinal hernias who decide to delay surgery develop new or worsening symptoms. Delayed surgery can result in it enlarging and becoming more challenging to repair.
When might I need an emergency hernia operation?
If you think that your hernia has become stuck or strangulated, then you will need to seek immediate medical attention. This can sometimes become life-threatening, which means you will need an emergency hernia operation. The signs of this include:
- If your hernia budge has become larger than before
- If you feel that you have a fever
- If your hernia does no longer go back inside the abdomen
- If you notice any redness in the area of your hernia
- If you are experiencing sudden or severe pain in the area of your hernia
- If you are experiencing any pain, bloating or are feeling nauseous