Groin Hernias

Inguinal (groin) Hernias

What is a hernia? 

This can be defined as a protrusion (bulge) through a defect (hole) in the muscles of the abdominal wall. The commonest site for this defect is in the groin. Depending on the exact location in the groin, they can be described as inguinal (direct or indirect), femoral or Spigelian. There is no need to worry about the exact terminology because they can all be repaired with essentially the same operation particularly when the laparoscopic (key-hole) approach is used.


Swelling or bulge in the groin that tends to come and go. Usually protruding during activity such as lifting and then reducing on lying down.

Discomfort especially during prolonged activity.


There is a risk of a loop of bowel getting stuck in the hernia resulting in either obstruction to flow of bowel contents or strangulation where the blood supply to the bowel itself is compromised and the bowel effectively dies.

So most hernias should be repaired with an operation. This can be with a traditional open operation or with a laparoscopic (key-hole) approach using a mesh and usually performed as a day procedure.

The laparoscopic method has the advantage of causing less post operative pain and patients are able to return to full activity in a shorter time. See what the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has to say about inguinal hernia repair.

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