A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Many hernias occur in the abdomen between the chest and hips, but they can also appear in the upper thigh and groin areas.
Inguinal hernia: Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. These occur when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is found in the groin. In men, it’s the area where the spermatic cord passes from the abdomen to the scrotum. This cord holds up the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains a ligament that helps hold the uterus in place.
Hiatal hernia: A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into your chest cavity. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that helps you breathe by contracting and drawing air into the lungs. It separates the abdominal organs from those in the chest. Hiatal hernias almost always cause gastroesophageal reflux, which is when the stomach contents leak backward into the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation.
Umbilical hernia: Umbilical hernias can occur in children and babies. This happens when their intestines bulge through their abdominal wall near their belly button. An umbilical hernia is the only kind that often goes away on its own as the abdominal wall muscles get stronger, typically by the time the child is 1 or 2 years old. If the hernia hasn’t gone away by 5 years of age, surgery can be used to correct it. Adults can also have umbilical hernias. This can occur from repeated strain on the abdomen due to things like obesity, pregnancy, or fluid in the abdomen.
Ventral hernia: A ventral hernia happens when tissue bulges through an opening in the muscles of the abdomen. Although a ventral hernia can be present from birth, it’s more commonly acquired at some point during one’s lifetime. Common factors in ventral hernia formation include things like obesity, strenuous activity, and pregnancy. Ventral hernias can also happen at the site of a surgical incision. This is called an incisional hernia and can happen due to surgical scarring or weakness of the abdominal muscles at the surgical site.
There are two techniques used for hernia repair – laparoscopic approach and open surgical approach. Surgeon preferences and situations influence the decision of an open repair or a laparoscopic repair. The advantages of laparoscopic repair are more than that of the open mesh repair. For one, post-operative pain is less and patients return to work faster than after an open surgery. Incidences of prolonged loss of sensitivity and numbness are noted in patients who have had an open surgery. Blood loss during surgery is markedly decreased. Wound drain may not be required after a laparoscopic procedure. Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is a popular technique considered safe and efficient.