Hernias often are named by where they are located. Inguinal hernias occur in the groin area and are most common in men. Femoral hernias are located at the top of the thigh and most often develop in women as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Umbilical hernias occur around the bellybutton and can happen in anyone, even infants and children. Incisional hernias occur at the site of a previous surgery.
Less common are ventral hernias, which develop in the upper abdomen, and stoma hernias, which may happen after a colostomy or similar surgery. Strangulated or incarcerated hernias refer to those in which a piece of intestine becomes trapped. The resulting intestinal blockage can be life-threatening and requires immediate treatment.
While a number of procedures are used to repair hernias, the goal of any hernia surgery is to strengthen the underlying weakness. Your surgeon will expertly do this using any of several minimally invasive techniques that provide lasting results and minimal discomfort. The preferred method for many patients is the tension-free patch repair. The surgeon makes a small incision over the hernia, and then moves the bulging intestine or tissue to where it belongs and inserts a fine mesh patch along the affected surface. The lack of internal stitches allows a tension free repair, which means a more comfortable recovery and less risk of a repeat hernia. Patients who have a mesh repair have a less than one percent risk of recurrent hernia. The procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes.