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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 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.

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