Inguinal Hernias

You may be familiar with the concept of a hernia, but you may not know that there are different kinds of hernias. The location of a hernia can dictate its symptoms and its management. The most common type of hernia, accounting for 75 percent of all hernias in the abdominal wall, is known as an inguinal hernia.

Having an inguinal hernia can be intimidating, but information is power. Here’s everything you need to know about inguinal hernias and what you can do if you think you may be experiencing this condition.

What Is an Inguinal Hernia?

An inguinal hernia occurs when a portion of intestinal tissue or fat tissue protrudes through an opening between the groin muscles around an anatomical area known as the inguinal canal. This can cause a bulge in the lower abdomen, near the crease of the thigh. In men, an inguinal hernia may extend into the scrotum, as well. Men are much more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than women, though 10 percent of inguinal hernias do occur in women.

What Causes an Inguinal Hernia?

An inguinal hernia can be caused by an inherited genetic condition or by environmental factors such as heavy lifting, straining, coughing, sneezing or trauma. Some risk factors, such as smoking, being obese, being pregnant or having a previous abdominal surgery, can increase a person’s risk of developing an inguinal hernia. Some people are more likely to get inguinal hernias than others, and researchers have noted that they tend to run in families.

What Are the Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia?

If you have an inguinal hernia, you may have no symptoms at all. However, if you do have symptoms, you may notice a bulge in your groin area that fluctuates in size. A hernia bulge may grow larger when you are straining or coughing, and it may appear less noticeable when you’re lying flat.

Other symptoms of an inguinal hernia may include:

  • A tugging or pinching sensation in the groin or scrotal area
  • Discomfort after eating a big meal
  • Groin or scrotal pain when straining
  • A burning sensation that can travel down the leg

An inguinal hernia is typically not an emergency—however, if you experience severe pain or vomiting then it could mean that the hernia is stuck or not receiving a blood supply. Seek emergency care immediately.

What Are the Treatment Options for an Inguinal Hernia?

Sometimes, an inguinal hernia can be managed by watchful waiting, particularly if the hernia is not causing any symptoms. Symptomatic inguinal hernias can be repaired by surgically replacing the tissue back into the abdominal cavity and reinforcing the area so that the hernia does not reoccur. This reinforcement can be accomplished with a piece of mesh or with suturing.

Two surgical options for treating inguinal hernias include:

  • An open hernia repair includes a moderate incision near the hernia site
  • A laparoscopic hernia repair includes a few smaller incisions near the hernia site

At Advanced Laparoscopic Associates, we excel at treating inguinal hernias using a minimally invasive, laparoscopic and approach. We incorporate the use of robotics into our hernia repairs for even greater precision and control and to improve surgical recovery outcomes for our patients. Both laparoscopic and robotic hernia surgery involve the use of small tools, small incisions and flexible cameras. The difference is, in robotic hernia surgery, the surgeon controls a robotic arm from a console instead of using the surgical tools him- or herself. 

To learn more about our state-of-the-art hernia repair techniques or to be evaluated for symptoms of an inguinal hernia, contact us today.

Call (201) 646-1121 today and schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons!


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