COVID-19 update:  Our hospital is still fully open for appointments and admissions, however visitors are not permitted.

Femoral Hernia

A femoral hernia is a type of hernia that occurs when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through into the inner upper part of the thigh or groin. It is relatively uncommon and accounts for only 2% of all hernias and 6% of all groin hernias. Approximately 70% of femoral hernias occur in women as they generally have a wider pelvis and a larger femoral canal than men. As there are few femoral hernia symptoms it is estimated that nearly 50% of all femoral hernias are only discovered when strangulation occurs. Due to their location they can easily be confused with inguinal hernias by both patients and doctors.  

What causes a femoral hernia?

In most cases the causes of a femoral hernia are unknown. You may be born with a weakened area of the femoral canal, or the area may weaken over time.

Excessive straining can also contribute to the weakening of the muscle walls. This can occur during childbirth, through chronic coughing, when constipated or as a result of obesity.

Femoral Hernia Anatomy

Femoral hernia symptoms

A femoral hernia will appear as a small swelling, very low down your body, next to the groin or near the top of your thigh.

Often they produce few symptoms and very little little pain. It is therefore important to visit your GP if you suspect you have a hernia of this kind.

If left untreated, a femoral hernia could strangulate. This when your bowel becomes trapped in the hernia and its blood supply is cut off. If strangulation occurs, the lump will become hard and tender, you will experience severe local and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Even if your hernia is causing you no pain it is important to see your GP to confirm the diagnosis. Your GP will then refer you to a specialist hernia surgeon.

Femoral hernia treatment

A femoral hernia must detected quickly and repaired swiftly. Therefore surgery is the best option for anyone suffering from the condition. The aim of femoral hernia surgery is to close off the femoral canal. Before ‘mesh’ was introduced this was always carried out using stitches – stitching the front and back of the opening together. As this method is generally quite reliable and produces accurate results it is still the most common form of femoral hernia repair used in the UK. The problem however is that it can produce a lot of pain and the recurrence rate can be high.

As eluded to previously there is now another surgical treatment available to patients suffering from a femoral hernia, a mesh cone or plug. The favoured method of specialist Consultant Mr Martin Kurzer,  it involves the insertion of a soft mesh cone plug in the femoral canal. The plug sits in the femoral canal and stops anything passing through. The procedure can be carried out using ‘keyhole’ surgical techniques where smalls incisions are made just above the groin crease.

Is no treatment an option?

As femoral hernias produce few symptoms the temptation is to ignore them. Failing to get medical advice however can be damaging and is not recommended. If left the hernia will grow and discomfort and pain, even if negligible to start with, will intensify.

Contact us

To ask a question about a femoral hernia or to book an appointment with one of our experts you can call us on 020 3370 1014 or email us at londonhernia@hje.org.uk.

Hernia Clinic

The Hernia Unit provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of all hernia types and can offer a number of surgery options depending on the individual needs of each patient.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, ENT, as well as a private GP practice and our urgent care centre, Casualty First, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information then get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 3370 1014.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

 If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP.

If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRI’s a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

    Latest articles

    The latest news, insights and views from St John and Elizabeth Hospital.

    Find out what we’re doing to keep you safe, read expert articles and interviews with our leading specialist Consultants, learn more about common conditions and get your questions answered.

    Remember to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get the latest news sent straight to your inbox.

    a close up of above the pelvic region - a blog post about urology

    23rd July 2021

    What does a urologist do on the first visit?

    We look at the complex world of urology and what to expect on the first visit to a urologist.

    dr showing how to examine breasts for lumps

    16th July 2021

    How regular screenings at a breast clinic can keep you healthy

    Having screenings at a breast clinic can put your mind at rest or allow you to take early action if something abnormal is found.

    private surgeons performing a hernia operation

    09th July 2021

    Scheduled for a hernia operation? Here’s what to expect

    We look at hernias and the different types that can occur, what kind of symptoms might tell you you have a hernia and what to expect if you’re scheduled to have a hernia operation.

    A smiling nurse

    02nd July 2021

    How much does a cervical screening cost?

    Wondering how much a cervical screening costs? We examine this important procedure and…

    a close up of female skin side shoulder view

    18th June 2021

    Checking your skin at a private dermatology clinic

    We examine the functions of the skin, what can go wrong and when…

    a doctor talking to a patient at a private urgent care centre in london

    04th June 2021

    A private urgent care centre for when you need immediate attention

    There’s no need to wait around when you opt for a private urgent…

    A patient waiting at London Urology

    28th May 2021

    The 3 most common prostate problems you need to know about

    One in five men will experience prostate problems at some point in their…

    Fibroscan at The Gi Unit

    14th May 2021

    What is a Fibroscan: Five facts you may not know

    A Fibroscan is a simple, painless and non-invasive procedure used to accurately assess…

    International Nurses Day blog banner

    11th May 2021

    International Nurses Day 2021 at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital

    This year’s theme of International Nurses Day is: “A Voice to Lead –…

    Close up of woman exercising on gym machine

    23rd April 2021

    Mr Dimitrios Tsekes: How to avoid a bicep injury in the gym, and how to treat a bicep tendon tear

    Mr Dimitrios Tsekes, a leading orthopaedic and upper-limb surgeon at our Shoulder Unit,…

    12th March 2021

    Patient safety awareness: our pledge

    Patient safety is at the heart of St John & St Elizabeth Hospital’s…

    03rd March 2021

    Ask the Expert: Cataracts

    Cataracts are a common issue affecting older adults, where cloudy patches form on…