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What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a hole in the abdominal fascia, the strong connective tissue that surrounds your muscles. Hernias develop at areas of weakness in the abdominal fascia.


How serious are hernias?

Often, a part of the intestine pushes through this tear in the abdominal wall, and a soft bulge is seen beneath the skin where the hernia has occurred. The risk is that this area of the bowel can get stuck in the hernia, leading to an incarcerated hernia. This condition could lead to the loss of the blood supply to and a hernia, within the space of six hours, advance from an incarcerated hernia to a strangulated hernia. This strangulation of the blood supply leads to necrosis (death) of this piece of bowel and spillage of the bowel contents, which can lead to sepsis or death. A hernia must be surgically repaired on an elective basis to avoid these complications.

A small hernia is amenable to a minimally invasive outpatient surgical repair. Significant hernia defects may require a full abdominal wall reconstruction to give you back a functional abdominal wall. Our expertise in understanding, evaluating, and surgically treating complex conditions means you’re in the most experienced hands.

What is a Hernia?

What are the types of hernias?

Hernias come in different shapes and sizes and are found in various parts of the abdominal wall.

Inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia in both men and women. However, it is three times more likely to occur in men. In males, it happens when an opening in the abdominal wall from the passage of the testicle into the scrotum does not close normally before birth or reopens later in life. In women, this canal contains the round ligament (a supporting ligament for the uterus) and is much smaller but still exists and can reopen later in life.

You can find more data about an inguinal hernia here.

What is a Hernia?

Epigastric hernia

An epigastric hernia appears in the middle of the belly between the breastbone and the belly button. In the mid-line of the muscle structure, the fascia is not covered with muscle and is a natural area of weakness. Fat or intestine can push through a weak spot in the abdominal wall.

Find more information about an epigastric hernia here.

Femoral hernia

A femoral hernia appears as a bulge near the groin or thigh. This type of hernia is uncommon and found most often in elderly thin females. It is due to an enlargement of the small hole in the abdominal fascia needed for the major blood vessels of your leg. Less than 5 percent of all hernias are femoral hernias.

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is the most common form of a diaphragm hernia. The diaphragm is a large flat muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. Normal communication between the chest and the abdomen allows the esophagus to enter into the abdomen and connect to the stomach. Over time, this area can stretch, and part of the stomach can bulge up through the diaphragm and into the chest. Many people don’t feel symptoms; however, heartburn can be a common symptom.

Get more information about a hiatal hernia here.

What is a Hernia?

Obturator hernia

An obturator hernia is a rare hernia of the pelvic floor. The obturators are two muscles that cover the front part of the pelvis and support the function of the thighs and hips. The abdominal contents herniate into the obturator canal (a natural passageway through which arteries and nerves pass in the hip area). These types of hernias can be difficult to diagnose on physical exam and require a high degree of suspicion on the part of the clinician. They often need a CT scan of the pelvis to diagnose correctly.

Spigelian hernia

A Spigelian hernia appears at the lateral edge of the rectus muscle (6-pack muscle). The lateral border of the rectus muscle is called the “semilunar line.” Spigelian hernias can develop where the semilunar line intersects with the “arcuate line” (The arcuate line appears about 2 cm below the belly button and runs at a 90-degree angle). This is a natural area of weakness, as it is where the fascia meets and is not covered by muscle. Spigelian hernias are rare hernias that are sometimes harder to diagnose with a physical exam alone as they don’t always reveal a noticeable bulge as with other hernias.

Incisional hernia

An incisional hernia may occur months or years after surgery, appearing in the area overlying the scar. The size of this type of hernia depends on the initial surgery.

Learn more about an incisional hernia here.

Lumbar hernia

These are posterior abdominal wall hernias that appear as a bulge on the back. These hernias are the result of trauma, prior surgery, or may be congenital.

Innovative treatments and superior outcomes at Ideal Body Institute

At our Advanced Hernia Center, we practice the latest, most advanced procedures for the repair of simple and complex hernias.

For example, we specialize in sophisticated abdominal wall reconstructive techniques to restore abdominal function caused by recurring hernias. These techniques are beneficial when a more involved approach may be appropriate, as a result of scar tissue or an abdominal wall catastrophe.

We offer state-of-the-art approaches to help provide our patients, and their physicians, proven solutions – and peace of mind.

What is a Hernia?

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