The surgeons of NISS have extensive expertise in the repair of hernias.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia is defined as an abnormal opening through which something protrudes. Most commonly, hernias occur when fatty tissue, intestine or other organs push through a weak spot or gap in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue known as fascia. There are several types of hernia that frequently require surgical repair, including:
- Inguinal (groin) hernia – the groin (also known as the inguinal region) contains a natural opening that allows the testicular vessels in men, and a uterine support ligament in women, to pass through the abdominal wall. This opening can enlarge over time, allowing abdominal contents such as intestine, bladder, or even just fatty tissue, to protrude through the fascia, resulting in an abnormal groin bulge. Inguinal hernias are most common in men, but can also occur in women.
- Femoral hernia – Most common in women, femoral hernias occur in the groin when abdominal contents push through the passage that carry the major (femoral) artery from the abdomen into the upper thigh. These hernias are often perceived as a painful knot near the pubic bone or in the crease of the groin.
- Incisional (ventral) hernia – Abdominal hernias that typically occur where fascia weakened by surgery gives way, causing abdominal contents to bulge beneath surgical scars.
- Umbilical (belly button) hernia – Very common weaknesses at the base of the navel, which frequently enlarge and result in protrusion. These can be painful or even just unsightly.
- Hiatal hernia – occur inside the abdominal cavity, when the natural opening in the diaphragm for the esophagus (the hiatus) weakens. This can disrupt the normal barrier at the junction of the stomach and esophagus, resulting in gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD. Laparoscopic repair, known as fundoplication, can restore the barrier and prevent damage to the esophagus, prevent the need for long-term antacid therapy and reduce the risk of developing esophageal cancer.