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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.

ENT Consultants

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.

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Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, 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, 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 health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

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

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

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