Hernias are really common and can occur in both men and women of all ages.  A hernia is a weakness or tear in the muscles of your abdomen wall which lets your abdominal contents for example your bowels to bulge out.


The commonest areas where hernias can happen are in the groin (inguinal or femoral), belly button (umbilical) and the site of a previous operation (incisional). You may feel pain when you lift up heavy things, cough or strain or notice a bulge at the end of a long day standing.  The hernia can over time get very big and swollen as well as potentially getting stuck (incarcerated) or lose its blood supply of the bowel (strangulated) which require emergency surgery. You would get severe continuous pain if these occurred, maybe also with redness of the skin. You should seek immediate help from your local Accident and Emergency department.


The surgical repair of your hernia requires a patch (mesh) to fix the tear in the abdominal wall muscles. In my practice most hernias will be repaired using key hole surgery with the associated benefits listed above. However some patients who have had previous abdominal surgery or underlying medical condition may not be suitable for key hole surgery and require the traditional ‘open’ mesh repair. This is usually a day case procedure unless you live alone or are having complex incisional or hernia repairs of both groins (bilateral), in which case an overnight stay is usually required.


Your return to activities is a lot faster with key hole surgery compared to open hernia surgery. After hernia surgery you will be able to walk around immediately and your normal activities can gradually be introduced once you are comfortable in one or two weeks. The cuts in your skin are usually closed with absorbable invisible stitches which do not need to be removed.

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