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Hernia repair

Hernia surgery corrects the lump by pushing it back into place, and strength is added to the area with stitches and/or mesh.

close up of doctor pointing at part of a hernia medical model
A hernia occurs when your internal organs or fatty tissue pushes through a weakened muscle wall or connective tissue.

This causes a lump called a hernia. Most hernias are not serious, but they can cause pain and discomfort.

The procedure corrects the lump by pushing it back into place, and strength is added to the area with stitches and/or mesh.

The procedure is usually done as a day case, meaning you can go home on the same day.

Read more about the different types of hernias and their causes and treatments on our dedicated hernia information hub.

There are two types of surgery that you can have for a hernia:

  • Open surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery, also known keyhole surgery. Within keyhole surgery, there are two techniques offered:

We treat the following types of hernias:

Inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia (or groin hernia) develops in the inguinal canal in the groin. This happens when part of your bowel or fatty tissue pushes through a weak part of the abdominal wall.

Umbilical and paraumbilical hernias

Umbilical and paraumbilical hernias develop behind or near the belly button. Umbilical hernias are common in babies and children. Paraumbilical hernias are more likely to occur in adults.

Umbilical hernia

An umbilical hernia can occur if the seal between the umbilical cord and the naval doesn’t close after birth. This can leave the abdominal muscles behind the belly button weak and prone to a hernia. These types of hernias can resolve on their own in the first few months of the baby’s life. But if it doesn’t settle, you may need surgery.

Paraumbilical hernia

A paraumbilical hernia can occur above or below the belly button. It is most common in adults as a result of weak abdominal muscles or from being overweight. This type of hernia won’t resolve on its own, and you may need surgery.

Sports hernia

A sports hernia (also known as Gilmore’s groin) is a tear or disruption of the muscles and tendons in the groin. It’s a common injury for people who play sports that involve twisting, or that place strain on the groin. Symptoms can get worse when you exercise. Sports hernias are generally first treated with physiotherapy. If this doesn’t help, you may need to have surgery.

Epigastric hernia

An epigastric hernia is fatty tissue or a part of the abdomen that protrudes between the sternum and the belly button. The usual treatment for this is surgery.

Femoral hernia

A femoral hernia forms at the point where the femoral artery and veins pass from the abdomen and into the leg. It can happen as a result of a weak abdominal wall, which allows internal organs or fatty tissue to protrude. It’s treated with surgery, using either local or general anaesthetic.

Incisional hernia repair

Incisional hernias can occur as a result of previous surgery. Sometimes the incisions don’t heal and the abdominal muscle can become weak. This can allow internal organs and fatty tissue to push through, causing a hernia. There are two treatments available for these types of hernias:

  • Open incisional hernia repair – the hernia is repaired with open surgery under general or local anaesthetic. The hernia sac is removed, and surgical mesh is used to strengthen the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopic incisional hernia repair - the hernia is repaired with minimally-invasive keyhole surgery. Small instruments remove any scar tissue. Surgical mesh is inserted over the hernia.

Hernia operations are usually performed as day cases.

This means you should be able to go home on the same day as your operation.

Your healthcare team will tell you how you can best look after yourself at home. You can usually expect to be able to do some light exercise after around two weeks.

You may also be able to go back to work, unless you have a labour-intensive job. You should avoid strenuous activity such as heavy lifting for around four weeks.

After around six weeks, you should have recovered.

Hernias don’t get better on their own, and can only be corrected with surgery. This is known as a hernia repair.

By choosing one of our hospitals for your hernia repair surgery, you’ll benefit from:

  • Rapid access to a consultant, usually within 24 hours
  • A private hospital setting with a high standard of aftercare
  • Most hernia repair surgeries are day-case operations, so you will likely be able to go home on the same day as your operation

If you think you have a hernia, you should make an appointment to see your GP for an assessment.

While most hernias aren’t serious, your GP will want to make sure there is no risk to your internal organs, causing a strangulated hernia.

The cost depends on the type of surgery and specific circumstances, such as the type of anaesthetic used.

Prices will also vary by hospital.

If you decide to have hernia repair surgery, you will need a GP referral. 

You can pay for the surgery yourself, or you can use your private medical insurance.

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