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

Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia and accounts for roughly 70% of all hernias cases. It is also one of the most common general surgical procedures. An inguinal hernia usually occurs when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel, such as the intestine, pokes through into the groin at the top of your inner thigh. It is a type of hernia that is more prevalent in males.

Our team of expert Consultants are vastly experienced in the treatment of inguinal hernias and use the latest repair techniques to ensure excellent results, the fastest possible recovery and a minimal chance of re-occurrence.

Why does an inguinal hernia occur?

An inguinal hernia will occur through weakening of abdominal muscles around the inguinal canal allowing the pressure of internal organs to create a swelling or lump in the groin. The inguinal canal is a passageway between the abdomen and the genitals that is much larger in men than women. As a result this condition is far more common in males.

Inguinal hernia symptoms

You will see or feel a lump or swelling under the skin that may be uncomfortable, painful and sensitive to the touch. The swelling will often disappear completely when you lie down, as the ‘contents’ of the hernia sac slip back through the hole into the abdomen. In some cases there may be no visible signs of swelling, but you may be conscious of a strange feeling in the groin when you are standing or walking for any period of time.

Additional symptoms

  • Pain from coughing, during physical activity
  • Burning sensations
  • Feelings of heaviness or full sensation in the groin
  • Swelling of the scrotum (men)

How will I know if I have an inguinal hernia?

Generally hernias are painless but occasionally patients may feel slight discomfort when bending, lifting or standing for long periods of time. There is a high chance you have an inguinal hernia if there is a bulge or swelling under the skin in the groin area that disappears when you lie down. It is important to see your GP to confirm the diagnosis even if the hernia causes no pain. Your GP will then refer you to a specialist hernia surgeon.

How will I be assessed for an inguinal hernia?

It is likely you examined standing rather than laying down. If all the obvious signs are there it is unlikely you will be sent for further specialist tests.

Situations that may require further testing:

  • There is pain or discomfort in the groin with no obvious swelling
  • The swelling is not reducible and does not go back when you lie down

Inguinal hernia surgery timeline

At London Hernia we offer rapid access/turnaround from consultation to surgery. With a wealth of talented surgeons and slots in our state-of -the-art theatres readily available, we can work around your schedule to sure you are returned to full health as soon as possible. For the next available surgery slot we recommend contacting our specialist team.

Inguinal hernia treatment options

Surgery is the recommended option but the form of Inguinal Hernia repair administered varies on a cases by case basis. At London Hernia we offer the latest techniques to ensure you recieve the highest quality of repair and recover quickly.

The repair methods we offer:

Open mesh repair

Open mesh or tension free mesh is an advanced technique that was pioneered by London Hernia Consultants and has been perfected over thousands of successful operations. It involves the positioning a piece of fine mesh over the opening. The body will then heal naturally around it. This is a reliable repair with a high success rate that can be carried out in minutes under local anaesthetic.

Keyhole surgery (laparoscopic)

 This process involves four small incisions made through the abdominal wall through which a small thin telescope and surgical instruments are positioned to examine and deal with the hernia internally. This minimally invasive technique uses carbon dioxide gas to inflate the cavity to allow space for the surgeon to work remotely. The hernia hole is located and covered with mesh, which is stapled into place.

Using a truss or fitted belt

Using a truss or fitted belt is an old fashioned method that is both awkward and uncomfortable. They also rarely fit well enough to stop the hernia popping out. Trusses are okay if you too unwell or completely against having an operation – but they are a poor solution to the problem.

At London Hernia our surgical techniques are extremely effective and are able to be carried out under local anaesthetic. This ensures you don’t have to be asleep –‘knocked out’ – under a general anaesthetic. Read more about our hernia repair methods.  

Is no treatment an option?

As many hernias do not hurt the temptation is to ignore them. However failing to get medical advice 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.

Inguino-scrotal hernia

An inguino-scrotal hernia is an advanced form of an inguinal hernia where the bowel has passed completlely through the inguinal canal and has entered the scrotum. An inguino-scrotal hernia is often more uncomfortable than an inguinal hernia, and is therefore more difficult to push back in. An inguino-scrotal hernia is often unsightly and the likelihood of strangulation of bowel is higher than with inguinal hernias.

Inguino-scrotal hernia treatment

A truss is unlikely to be of help at this stage and the recommendation from our specialist hernia Consultant’s that an inguino-scrotal hernia should be repaired surgically.

Contact us

To ask a question about an inguinal hernia or to book an appointment you can contact us by calling 020 3370 1014 or by emailing 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. 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.

    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.

    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 –…

    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…

    02nd March 2021

    Your Questions Answered: Urinary Tract Infections

    Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are caused by the presence of bacteria in the…

    01st February 2021

    Hospital Heroes – February 2021

    At St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, we take huge pride in the…

    26th January 2021

    Why there’s no need to worry about hip or knee replacements

    With 4.46m in the UK currently on the waiting list for routine treatments…

    26th January 2021

    Celebrating our 2020 ‘Magic Moment’ winners

    Our ‘Magic Moment’ award ceremony has always been an important date in the…

    22nd January 2021

    How to treat acid reflux

    Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. It’s a…

    15th January 2021

    “They take the time to make patients feel comfortable”

    When an initial surgery to repair a broken elbow didn’t go to plan,…

    21st December 2020

    St John and St Elizabeth Hospital’s 2020 – a year in review by CEO Caroline Fox

    To say it has been a tough year would be an understatement. We…

    18th December 2020

    12 top tips for Christmas

    Christmas is always special but this year, it feels more important than ever….

    18th December 2020

    Hospital Heroes – December 2020

    At St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, we take huge pride in the…