General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Inguinal Hernia Repair

Inguinal hernias are the most common of all hernias, located in the groin area, near the crease between the lower abdomen and the upper thigh. An inguinal hernia occurs when a part of an organ, usually the intestine, breaks through a weak point in the muscular wall that secures the abdominal organs. A loop of intestine enters the inguinal canal, a tubular passage located in the lower part of the abdomen. This results in a visible bulge that is frequently, although not always, painful.

There is no apparent cause of an inguinal hernia, though they are sometimes associated with heavy lifting. Infants can also develop inguinal hernias when a portion of the lining around the abdominal organs (peritoneum) does not close properly before birth. Between 10 and 15 percent of males and two percent of females will develop inguinal hernias in their lifetime.

The only way to fix an inguinal hernia is with surgical repair. Laparoscopic surgery is an increasingly popular alternative to the "open" method because of less post-operative pain, a faster return to normal activity, reduced risk of infection and low short- and long-term recurrence rates.

Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair may not be appropriate for people who cannot tolerate general anesthesia, have bleeding disorders, have severe lung disease, have had many abdominal surgeries, are pregnant, are extremely obese or have an incarcerated hernia (when the intestines bulge through the hernia defect and become trapped).

Because of the highly specialized nature of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, consult one of The Miriam Hospital's trained surgeons in order to determine whether or not this procedure is right for you.

To learn more about why smaller is better, call 401-793-4545.