Abdominal Wall Hernia Repair

Hernia of the abdominal wall can occur in the following sites:

  • inguinal (groin)
  • femoral (junction of groin and upper thigh)
  • epigastric (central upper abdomen)
  • umbilical (at umbilicus/belly-button)
  • Incisional (site of previous incision/operation).

It is usual to recommend all hernias to be fixed in patients who are fit enough for surgery. This is because hernias will all slowly enlarge and, until they are repaired, there is a risk of bowel or fat getting caught within the hernia. This causes a lot of pain and if it remains caught the blood supply to that bit of bowel or fat can be cut off.

Fortunately most hernias are relatively simple to repair. Repair involves pushing the contents of the hernia back where it would normally lie, and then closing the hernia orifice (hole). This can be done with sutures (stitches), but usually hernias are now also repaired with ‘mesh’ to cover the gap in the muscles of the abdominal wall. The mesh repair is much less likely to break down and so the hernia is less likely to recur.

An Abdominal Wall Hernia Repair is traditionally performed by an ‘open’ incision (larger cut) but in many circumstances it may be appropriate and advantageous to perform by ‘Keyhole Surgery’.

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