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A hernia occurs when part of an organ (usually the intestines) sticks through a weak point or tear in the thin muscular wall that holds the abdominal organs in place.

There are several types of hernias, based on where they occur:

  • Inguinal hernia appears as a bulge in the groin or scrotum. This type is more common in men than women.
  • Femoral hernia appears as a bulge in the upper thigh. This type is more common in women than in men.

Common Types of Hernias – From Hernia Diagnosis to Surgery and Recovery

  • Inguinal Hernia is one of the two types of hernias that form in the groin.
  • Incisional Hernia forms along the site of a surgical incision.
  • Epigastric Hernia is one of the types of abdominal hernias that forms between the belly button and the chest.
  • Umbilical Hernia forms near the umbilicus or belly button.
  • Femoral Hernia is one of two types of hernias that form in the groin.
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) is a type of hernia that is present at birth that can allow abdominal organs to slip in to the chest cavity.
  • Hiatal Hernia allows the stomach to slip up in to the chest cavity.

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When Is a Hernia an Emergency ?

A hernia becomes an emergency when there is severe pain at the site, which is often caused by a lack of blood flow to the tissue bulging through the muscle. A change in the color of the hernia may also indicate a serious problem. It may become dusky, meaning it is gray or ashen in color, or it can become dark red or purple. These types of color changes can indicate that the blood flow has been cut off and the hernia is strangulating.

Recovering from Hernia Surgery

There is no standard recovery from hernia surgery as there are many types of hernias. Some hernia surgeries are large and extensive procedures, while others can be performed on an outpatient basis with the patient returning home the same day.

Hernia Prevention After Surgery

Some types of hernias can be prevented. One of the easiest ways to prevent an incisional hernia is to protect a surgical incision while it heals. This means that if you are rising from a seated position, have to sneeze or cough or are bearing down from a bowel movement, you should gently hold pressure on the incision until the activity is over. Another important way to prevent an incisional hernia is to follow the surgeon’s instructions, regarding how long to wait before lifting anything, especially heavy objects.

Surgery In Children

In most cases, a child with an inguinal hernia will need surgery to correct it.
Infants 6 months of age and younger who have inguinal hernias have a much higher risk of strangulation than older children and adults. So surgery for inguinal hernias in infants is not delayed like it can be for adults.

  • Synthetic patches are not needed to repair an inguinal hernia in an infant.
  • Some infants with an inguinal hernia may need to be hospitalized for surgery rather than have it in an outpatient setting. These include infants with lung problems, seizure disorders, or heart diseases from birth or those who were born prematurely.

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One of the major decisions concerning infants and children is whether to explore the opposite groin area for a hernia during a hernia repair. A hernia develops in the other side of the groin in about 30% of children who have had hernia surgery.

Issues to consider in deciding whether the other side should be explored include the overall health of the child, the risk of incarceration of a hernia, and the experience level of the surgeon.

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