Groin hernia

A hernia is when you have an area of weakness in your groin muscle and you have bowel or other abdominal contents poking into this.  Hernias usually present with a lump in the groin that may cause you discomfort or pain.  It rarely causes severe pain unless there are things trapped inside the hernia.

Q: Why would I need this operation?

If  you have a hernia that can be detected, you may need an operation regardless of whether it gives you any symptoms.   

Q: How do I know for sure that I have the condition therefore need this operation?

Your surgeon will examine you to confirm the presence of a hernia.  Regardless of what tests shows (e.g. ultrasound), if your surgeon cannot feel a hernia s/he may not be happy to do the operation for you.  S/He will discuss with you other possible causes for your symptoms.

Q: What scar will I have and what does the procedure involve?

Groin hernias can be performed with key hole surgery or surgery through a 7cm incision in the groin. Key hole surgery involves three 1cm cuts: usually one near the belly button and 2 other below that. Surgery through a 7cm cut will be located in your groin next to the pubic bone. Both methods will most likely require insertion of mesh to strengthen the muscle over the area of weakness. The mesh stays with you for the rest of your life.  It is not absorbable.  Not all patient are suitable for key hole surgery.  Discuss with your surgeon the options available for you.

Q: What anaesthetic will I have and do I have a choice?

A general anaesthetic is preferred unless you have other health issues.

Q: What are the possible complications and what are the chances that they will occur?

There is a <1% chance that your hernia may come back.  A small number of people may experience numbness or pain near the pubic bone after the operation. 

Q: What can I expect after the operation?

You will most likely be in hospital for 1 night.  The reason for this is that some people may experience difficulty passing urine. Day case surgery is possible as well, discuss this with your surgeon.

Q: Should I not be doing certain things after the operation?

You should not do any heavy lifting for 6 weeks otherwise you put yourself at risk of the hernia coming back.

Q: How long should I be off work?

It will depend on the nature of your work, but 3-5 days is usually the time you need prior to returning to clerical work.  Discuss your circumstances with the surgeon at the consultation.

Q: When will I see my surgeon for review?

Your surgeon will see you within 2 weeks of the operation followed by another appointment 6 weeks after that. This to ensure there is no recurrence of the hernia.  You usually will not require ongoing followup after this.