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At My Surgical Specialist, we specialise in surgery for abdominal and groin hernias. Using the latest keyhole surgery techniques results in less pain and means that you to get back to sports and normal daily activities quicker.

Whether you are insured or self-paying, you will be seen quickly and assessed carefully by Mr Alkhaffaf before a personalised treatment plan is put together specifically for you.

Groin Hernia

Common Questions About Abdominal & Groin Hernia

Q: What is a Hernia?

A hernia is an abnormal bulge which protrudes through a weak spot in your abdomen or groin. The bulge usually contains fat from inside the abdomen but in rarer cases can contain bowel.  A hernia can occur in many places around the body, but most commonly occurs in the groin and abdominal wall.  Each type of hernia is given a specific name:

HerniaInguinal hernia: Occurs in the groin and is most common amongst male patients.

Femoral hernia: Occurs in the groin and is most common amongst female patients.

Umbilical hernia: Occurs around your belly button/navel.

Epigastric hernia: Occurs anywhere between the breastbone and the belly button/navel.

Incisional hernia: Occurs at the site of a previous operation scar such as a caesarian section, appendicectomy or gallbladder surgery.

Sportsman’s hernia: This is a special type of groin hernia which affects athletes and professional sportsmen and women. It usually presents as a pain in the groin and a lump in the groin is not typically present.

Q: How Common Are Hernias?

Hernias are very common, can occur at any age and affect both men and women. Hernia surgery is one of the commonest operations performed in the United Kingdom.

Q: What Causes Hernias?

Hernias can occur in all ages and as such can have different causes including:

Physical exertion such as sports and heavy lifting.

Pregnancy leads to stretching of the abdominal wall and can cause a subsequent weakness which can develop into a hernia (particularly around the naval and in the upper abdomen).

Obesity, as the abdominal wall stretches out and is weakened.

Chronic cough can lead to high pressure from inside the abdominal cavity pushing on naturally weak spots around the groin and naval leading to hernias.

Muscle weakness: Some rare conditions which lead to muscle weakness can cause you to develop a hernia.

Q: What Symptoms Do Hernias Cause?

A hernia may be entirely without symptoms and can sometimes be found as part of investigations looking at other medical problems. Commonly, you will feel or see an abnormal bulge. In some cases you may only suffer with hernia-related symptoms which can include:

-A feeling of weakness which stops you from carrying on with your daily activities and hobbies.

-A heavy dragging sensation.

-Pain or discomfort.

Many hernias bulge out but can be reduced (pushed back in) easily.  In some cases however, your hernia may not be reducible and may also be associated with severe pain in your abdomen.  If this occurs, you must seek medical advice immediately.

Q: How Are Hernias Treated?

Hernias are most effectively treated with surgery. At My Surgical Specialist we offer different options depending on your medical circumstances and wishes. Most commonly hernias can be treated with keyhole surgery resulting in a quicker recovery for you.  During surgery, your hernia is reduced (pushed back in) and the area of weakness is reinforced using a synthetic ‘mesh’ material to reduce the risk of the hernia coming back. Mr Alkhaffaf will always discuss with you the different options available to you. The illustration below shows how an inguinal (groin) hernia is commonly treated with keyhole surgery.

Hernia Repair

Q: Are There Any Risks With Surgery?

Surgery to repair your hernia is both safe and effective and the risks associated with it are small.  However no procedure or surgery is risk-free. Complications in the immediate period after surgery can include:

Bleeding

Infection of the wound

Perforation: This includes inadvertently making a hole in a section of bowel or bladder.  This is exceptionally rare.

DVT: A ‘deep vein thrombosis’ is another term for a clot in the leg. These clots can rarely also travel to the lung.  We routinely prescribe you special stockings and blood thinning medication following your surgery to reduce the risk of this happening. In addition, because keyhole surgery enables you to return to your daily activities quickly, the risk of developing a DVT is further reduced.

Nerve Injury with groin hernia surgery which can lead to either numbness or chronic pain (see below).

Injury to the testicular vessels with groin hernia surgery which can lead to shrinking of the affected testicle.

Urinary retention: This can occur with groin hernia surgery in around 10% of patients, particularly older men (>60) with pre-existing prostate problems.

Some of the longer-term problems which may occur include:

Recurrence of the hernia: The chance of this occurring is less than 2.5% over your lifetime.

Chronic pain: Pain with groin hernia surgery which lasts for more than 3 months after surgery can occur in around 5% of patients.