Femoral Hernia

A femoral hernia is rare and usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. However, some femoral hernias can grow large enough to cause significant discomfort and symptoms, including nausea and severe abdominal pain.

Here’s more about the causes and symptoms of femoral hernias and how to contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates if you need treatment for this condition.

What Is a Femoral Hernia?

A femoral hernia occurs when a portion of tissues pushes through the wall of the femoral canal. The femoral canal is located just below the inguinal ligament in your groin and contains a bundle of small veins and nerves—including the femoral artery.

This type of hernia will protrude into the groin at the top of your inner thigh and may appear as a bulge in this area. These account for an estimated 3% of all hernias and are 10 times more common in women than in men.

What Causes a Femoral Hernia?

Femoral hernias are thought to be caused by a weakened femoral canal. Overstraining may contribute to a femoral hernia, such as that which may occur during childbirth, straining too hard during bowel movements, heavy lifting and chronic coughing.

What Are the Symptoms?

A femoral hernia usually won’t cause any symptoms unless it becomes large enough to obstruct your intestines—a condition known as strangulation. If this occurs, femoral hernia symptoms may include:

  • Visible bulge in the groin near the upper thigh
  • Pain in the bulge that gets worse when straining
  • Hip pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden groin pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

How Is It Treated?

A femoral hernia that is not causing symptoms may not require any treatment, though your doctor may monitor the hernia closely to see if it grows larger or if your symptoms progress. They are usually only treated when they start to produce pain or discomfort.

Surgery is the standard treatment for a femoral hernia that is causing symptoms. Surgery may be performed as an open surgery or as laparoscopic surgery—the latter of which is far less invasive and associated with less downtime and a shorter recovery.

When Is Surgery Needed?

You may need surgery if it is causing pain and discomfort, including when you stand up, lift heavy items or strain in any way—such as when coughing or having a bowel movement. You should also consider surgery if your symptoms are affecting your overall livelihood and well-being.

Contact your doctor if you think you may benefit from having surgery to repair a femoral hernia. Your doctor can perform a physical exam to identify whether the hernia is bulging out of your thigh or groin, as well as an ultrasound to get a clearer view of the protruding tissues in your muscle wall.

How Is Surgery Performed?

Surgery is performed under general anesthesia. If you are receiving laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon will make three or four tiny, keyhole-sized incisions in your groin near the site of the hernia. These small incisions will minimize blood loss and allow you to experience a faster recovery.

Next, your surgeon will manipulate the tissues protruding from the femoral canal to return them to their proper positions. Then, the space created by the hernia will be closed and reinforced with a piece of mesh to strengthen the wall of the femoral canal.

Most patients can resume light activities within two weeks after femoral hernia surgery and experience a full recovery within six weeks. Your surgeon can tell you more about what to expect from femoral hernia surgery based on the severity of your condition.

Advanced Laparoscopic Associates offers a wide range of bariatric and general surgeries. If you think you may have a femoral hernia, contact us today to request an appointment and discuss your treatment options.

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