Groin Hernia, Abdominal Hernia, Stoma Hernias, Flank Hernias & Other Hernias

A hernia is a bulge or sac of intestine, another organ or fat which protrudes through a hole or weak area in the muscles of the fascia. The fascia is the strong layer of the abdominal wall that surrounds the muscle.

Hernias can be divided into five main groups and are based on where they occur.

Groin Hernias

  • Inguinal hernias, which appear as a bulge in the groin, more commonly in men than in women, with the bulge potentially going all the way down into the scrotum.
  • Femoral hernias, which appear as a bulge in the upper thigh, just below the groin, and more commonly in women than in men.
  • Bilateral (double) hernias are any of the groin hernias that occur on both sides of the body.

Abdominal Hernias

  • Incisional hernias, which can occur through a scar if you have had abdominal surgery in the past
  • Umbilical hernias, which appear as a bulge around the belly button and occur when the tendon around the navel doesn’t close completely
  • Epigastric hernias, which develop in the mid-upper abdomen, anywhere along a line drawn from the lower point of the breastbone straight down to the umbilicus.

Stoma Hernias

Stoma hernias are those that occur around an ostomy in patients that have either a colostomy or an ileostomy.

Flank Hernias

Flank hernias are those which occur more laterally (to the side of the abdomen), typically because of trauma or previous surgery.

Complex and High-Risk Hernias

Complex hernias include those involving abdominal wall reconstruction and recurrent hernias, which include all hernias that reappear after a previous repair.

Hernias that require abdominal wall reconstruction are the most complex and, therefore, of most concern. These may be large abdominal hernias. In some patients, there may be an active infection of previously placed mesh or a fistula to the small or large intestine.

Treatment requires a team (multidisciplinary) approach to reconstructing the abdominal wall and generally involves open surgery. Sometimes, hernia surgeons work with plastic surgeons to repair more complicated reconstructions.