A hernia is usually a bulge on the front of the abdomen (tummy). Hernias are very common, particularly in men, and range from being the size of a grape to that of an orange. They often disappear when the patient lies down. The bulge usually contains some abdominal fat (which we all have, however slim) and sometimes some intestine.
The most common forms of hernia are inguinal (in the groin) and umbilical (at the belly button); femoral hernias (also in the groin) are less common. In addition, there are other, more complex hernias.
Hernias are often uncomfortable but are not always painful. A small hernia that does not cause any discomfort or pain may not require treatment, but as the hernia gets bigger and becomes uncomfortable then surgical treatment may be advised.
The operation involves 'reducing' the hernia back into the abdomen and then repairing the gap through which it came. For groin hernias this repair is almost always reinforced with some material called a mesh; umbilical hernias only sometimes need a mesh.
Inguinal hernias can be repaired by making a cut over the hernia ('open' repair) or making several small cuts away from the hernia ('laparoscopic' or 'keyhole' repair). Umbilical hernias are usually repaired with open surgery.
The majority of hernia repairs are carried out under a general anaesthetic (patient fully unconscious) but in some circumstances may be carried out under local anaesthetic (patient awake with area of operation numbed). Laparoscopic surgery has to be under a general anaesthetic.
In nearly all cases the patient is able to go home on the same day as the operation.
All four HPB consultant surgeons can be contacted as follows:
Care UK, Plymouth
0333 321 1953
Please contact us at the hospital where you are being treated. We shall do our best to answer your queries as quickly as possible.
We have tried to be as accurate as possible with the information in this website.
However, each patient is different, so some information may not apply to your specific circumstances.