A hernia is a weakness in the muscles through which bowel can protrude. Hernias are most common in the groin and are called inguinal hernias. Other types of hernias include femoral, incisional and paraumbilical (around the belly button) hernias. The commonest type of hernia is an inguinal hernia. Hernias commonly present as a lump which can be at times painful. Your general practitioner will take a history and examine you to confirm the diagnosis. Hernias need to be surgically repaired to relieve symptoms and prevent complications including strangulation (blood supply to the bowel is compromised) from happening.
Your general practitioner will refer you to see a surgeon who specialises in hernia repair. The vast majority of hernias are treated by an open mesh repair under a general anesthetic but they can also be repaired by a laparoscopic technique (keyhole surgery). Most patients are able to go home within 24 hours after surgery with simple painkillers. You will be advised regarding driving and other activities, depending on the type of hernia and the extent of the surgical repair.
An information sheet regarding hernia surgery detailing the exact nature of the operation and the possible risks, depending on the type of hernia, will be provided prior to the operation.
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