Inguinal Hernia

Definition

A hernia occurs when an organ or fat tissue protrudes through a weakened area of the peritoneum of the abdominal wall. This area can create a bulge and pain or discomfort. An inguinal hernia occurs near the base of the abdomen at either right and/or left inguinal canal.
The contents of the hernia may get stuck (incarcerated) through the abdominal wall and cannot be pushed back into the abdomen. The incarcerated hernia can then lead to strangulation, which can cut off blood flow to the tissue or intestines that is stuck. This can be life threatening if not treated immediately.

Symptoms

  • Pain or discomfort to groin area

  • Bulge along the pubic or groin area

  • Bulge may enlarge in size or pain may increase when lifting, sneezing, coughing, straining

  • Fullness or pressure in the groin

  • Swelling of the scrotum in males

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of an inguinal hernia is usually through medical history and physical examination.

Abdominal ultrasound or CT scan can be helpful for hernias that cannot be felt on physical exam.  

Surgery

Hernias can be repaired via an open approach, or in a minimally invasive approach with the daVinci robotic platform.

About Mesh

There is currently some anxiety when the word mesh is used.  Mesh has been used for inguinal hernia repair for several decades now.  It is absolutely the standard of care to prevent recurrence.  With a mesh repair the recurrence rate is usually below 1%.  Traditional non mesh repairs are mostly of historical interest only and not only were they MUCH more painful, they carried a 5-10% recurrence rate.  Risks of infection or mesh issues are extremely rare.  

Problems with mesh are encountered when it is placed near the intestine or other body organ where issues are still uncommon.

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