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Inguinal hernia repair surgery is recommended if you have a hernia that causes pain, severe or persistent symptoms, or serious complications
An inguinal hernia usually happens when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel, such as your small intestine, pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh. It is the most common type of hernia, and mainly affects men.
Inguinal hernias can occur naturally over time as you age and the muscles surrounding your tummy (abdominal muscles) become weaker, or when you put too much pressure on your tummy. For example, if you cough or sneeze too hard.
Inguinal hernias can cause persistent pain and swelling around your tummy and groin area, which can be treated with hernia repair surgery. Hernias do not go away without surgery, but some people can delay having it for years by managing their symptoms with lifestyle changes and medication.
If you have severe pain caused by an inguinal hernia, or if your hernia is interfering with your ability to perform everyday tasks and live an active, fulfilled lifestyle, you might benefit from inguinal repair surgery. This is an operation to repair the weakness in the abdominal wall and move your organs back into place.
There are two main techniques used to perform inguinal repair surgery. These are:
This is where your consultant uses a cut in your tummy to access your hernia, and pushes the lump from your groin back into its original position.
This is where your consultant accesses your hernia using very small cuts (incisions), inserting a thin tube with a camera and light attached to the end of it (a laparoscope) as well as specially designed small surgical tools to perform the procedure. The laparoscope is attached to a monitor that displays images from inside your tummy, so that your surgeon can see what they are doing. This type of surgery is less invasive, but it is a more difficult technique.
Both types of surgery can treat an inguinal hernia effectively and stop your difficult symptoms. Your consultant will decide which is best for you based on your individual circumstances. On this page, we focus on key information about open inguinal repair surgery, including what happens during the procedure and the typical open hernia surgery recovery timeline. We also have a page on keyhole surgery for inguinal hernia repair.
Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.
Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your treatment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over 10 months to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.
If you have private health insurance, hernia surgery will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.
*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should speak with your doctor. They will be able to determine whether you have an inguinal hernia, and advise you about what kind of treatment you might need.
During your initial appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and medical history. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions you have, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.
In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis, your consultant will carry out a gentle physical examination of your tummy. During this exam, they will look and feel for a bulge in your groin or scrotal area. You might be asked to stand and cough to make the hernia appear. Your consultant will then be able to advise whether you need surgery to treat the hernia, or if you would benefit more from medication
Your initial consultation is an important and positive step in your journey toward better health. To make the most of this first meeting with your consultant, you should feel free to talk as openly and honestly as you like about the pain and other symptoms you're experiencing, the way they make you feel, and what you're hoping to get from surgery.
The time you'll wait between your initial consultation and surgery will differ from person to person, but the process should move along quickly. Your consultant will share a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. After you know the costs, we can get you booked in to have your surgery at a time that suits you.
Next, they will place mesh (a medical device that supports damaged tissue around a hernia as it heals) over the weakened part of your abdominal wall to support and strengthen the weak spot where your hernia has pushed through. The mesh will be attached with stitches, surgical staples, or specialist glue.
Open inguinal hernia repair is usually carried out under local anaesthetic or a regional anaesthetic injected into your spine to numb your lower body. This means you will be awake during the procedure, but you won't feel anything.
The procedure usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes. It is typically performed by a general surgeon. General surgeons perform a variety of minor and major procedures, and are highly experienced in surgery for all kinds of hernias.
You should be able to return home from hospital on the same day you have surgery. You should arrange for someone to collect you from hospital, because you won't be able to drive until the anaesthesia wears off. We can arrange for a taxi to collect you, if needed.
You will likely experience pain and tiredness for a few days following surgery, but this can be managed with traditional painkillers.
It is normal to have bruising where your hernia was, and sometimes around your genitals while you recover.
Your consultant will provide your tailored advice on how to recover safely at home, including how to wash your wound, when to rest, and how to eat properly to avoid constipation.
You can usually shower between 24 and 48 hours after surgery.
You can return to light activities, such as swimming and gentle walking, after two weeks.
You should avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting, for around three to four weeks.
Most people return to work after two weeks and make a full recovery from open inguinal hernia repair within six weeks.
Like all surgical procedures, there are some levels of risks to consider when having open inguinal hernia repair surgery. You can speak to your doctor for more information about the following complications:
An inguinal hernia usually happens when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel, such as your intestine, pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh. It is the most common type of hernia, and mainly affects men.
The procedure usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.
Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in May 2022. Next review due May 2025.
Ken chose to have hernia repair surgery so he could get back to doing what he loves most.
Find out why he chose to go private with Circle Health Group.