Inguinal Hernia

What is an inguinal hernia?

Weak spots can develop in the layer of muscle in the abdominal wall, resulting in the contents of the abdomen pushing through. This produces a lump called a hernia (see figure 1).

An inguinal hernia happens at the inguinal canal. This is a narrow passage in which blood vessels supplying the testicle pass through the abdominal wall.

A hernia can be dangerous because the intestines or other structures within the abdomen can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated hernia).

 

 Hernia - bowel pushing through a weakness in the muscle wall of the abdomen

 

 

 

 

 

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should no longer have the hernia. Surgery should prevent you from having any serious complications.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

You can sometimes control the hernia with a truss (padded support belt) or simply

leave it alone. It will not go away without an operation.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic.

Your surgeon will make several small cuts on your abdomen. They will place surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

Your surgeon will return the part of the abdomen showing out and causing the hernia, and insert a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spot.

General complications

  •  Pain

  • Bleeding

  • Infection in the surgical site (wound)

  • Unsightly scarring

  • Blood clots

Specific complications

   Laparoscopic complications

  • Damage to internal organs

  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts

  • Injury to the bowel

  • Surgical emphysema

   Hernia repair complications

  • Developing a lump at the site of the original hernia

  • Discomfort or pain in the groin

  • In men, discomfort or pain in the testicle on the side of the operation

  • In men, difficulty passing urine

  • In men, damage to the blood supply of the testicle

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

You may return to normal activities when you feel comfortable to do so, usually after one week. You do not need to avoid lifting, but you may find it uncomfortable if you lift heavy weights within the first two to four weeks.

Occasionally the hernia comes back.

Summary

An inguinal hernia is a common condition caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall, near the inguinal canal. If left untreated, an inguinal hernia can occasionally cause serious complications.  A discussion with Mr. Browne will guide you as to whether it should be carried out as a laparoscopic or an open procedure. 

Umbilical Hernia

A paraumbilical hernia is an area of weakness around your umbilicus that adults are more likely to develop. An umbilical hernia is an area of weakness in your umbilicus (naval) that often develops in children. 

A paraumbilical or umbilical hernia is a common type of abdominal hernia. The wall of your abdomen at your umbilicus is naturally weak and, the contents of your abdomen can more easily push through it and produce a lump called a hernia.   

Paraumbilical hernia repair surgery is usually recommended for adult paraumbilical hernias due to the possibility of it becoming strangulated. The size of the hole in the abdominal wall is often small and has a relatively high risk of your hernia becoming trapped and the blood supply getting cut off.

The majority of umbilical hernias will close spontaneously within a year.  If the hernia persists beyond the age of 4 or 5 years or it is large, umbilical hernia repair may be recommended. 

What are paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair?

Paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair is surgery to put the paraumbilical or umbilical hernia lump back into its correct place and strengthen the weakened area of your abdominal wall to prevent the hernia from reoccurring.

What does the paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair surgery involve?

Paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation typically takes about 30 minutes. It can be performed by open or laparoscopic surgery.

Your surgeon will make a larger cut for open surgery or two to four tiny cuts for laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery near your naval and push the hernial sac back into your abdomen. They will then close the weak spot with stitches or, a synthetic mesh that will reinforce the weak spot.

For an umbilical hernia repair the weak spot in the abdominal wall is usually closed with stitches.

For a large or paraumbilical hernia, a special mesh may be used to strengthen the area and prevent the hernia returning.

The cut is then closed with dissolvable stitches or special surgical glue.

What complications can happen after the paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair surgery?

Complications are rare and seldom serious. They can include: serious bleeding, infection of the wound or mesh, damage to your bowel or other abdominal organs, chronic pain, collection of a lump of seroma fluid under your wound and, the return of your paraumbilical or umbilical hernia.


The paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair surgery may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment. 

How soon will I recover after the paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair surgery?

You can usually go home the same day as your hernia repair surgery.

Most people are able to do light activities after one to two weeks once the wound is healed. 

Children can expect to be off school for about a week and they should not take part in sports and games for a further two weeks after they return to school.

Adults who have paraumbilical hernia surgery can usually return to work after a week or two, unless their job involves manual labour which will require more time off. You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for the first four to six weeks.