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Hernia Surgery

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall That allows the inner lining of the abdomen to push through the weakened to form a balloon-like sac. This can allow a loop of intestines or other abdominal contents to push into the sac

This weakness or defect that may be present from birth or develop over a period of time and occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through the weak spot.

A hernia can result in a bulge or protrusion of part of the body into another part of the body that would normally contain it. If large enough, there will be a protrusion of abdominal contents, such as the bowel.

A hernia will not resolve on its own and will tend to enlarge and continue to cause discomfort over time.

If a loop of bowel gets caught in the hernia, it may become obstructed or restrict blood supply. A hernia that causes this type of obstruction It could then become a life-threatening situation.

What are the common Types of Hernia?

The most common types of hernia are

  • Inguinal (inner groin)
  • Ventral or Incisional (resulting from an incision)
  • Femoral (outer groin)
  • Umbilical (belly button),
  • Hiatal (upper stomach)
  • Inguinal Hernia

    In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin.

    About 96% of all groin hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.

  • Incisional Hernia

    In an incisional hernia, the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of previous abdominal surgery. This type is most common in smokers, elderly or overweight people after abdominal surgery.

  • Femoral Hernia

    A femoral hernia occurs when the intestine enters the canal blood vessels and nerves into the upper thigh. Femoral hernias are more common in women, especially older women who have had children.

  • Umbilical Hernia

    In an umbilical hernia, part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall near the bellybutton. Common in newborns, it can also happen in adulthood due to increased pressure in the abdomen or after laparoscopic surgery.

  • Hiatal Hernia

    A hiatal hernia (or hiatus hernia) occurs when a portion of the stomach squeezes, slides or protrudes through a gap in the diaphragm (hiatus, or an opening in the diaphragm through which the oesophagus passes.

What are the Symptoms of a Hernia?

Pain at the site of the protrusion is often felt, particularly when lifting a heavy object.

A lump can be felt in the groin area when standing or straining, that disappears on rest.

Excruciating abdominal pain occurs where there is strangulation. Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite indicates an intestinal obstruction.

What is the difference between a muscle strain and a hernia?

During your consultation Dr Gandy will take a medical history and examine your hernia sites. Sometimes an ultrasound or MRI scan is required for specific information regarding your hernia. It may be difficult to differentiate a strain from a hernia and occasionally the pain may be from a muscle strain even when a hernia is present.

For more information


What is the best treatment for hernia?

If you have a hernia surgery is the preferred treatment as your hernia will not get better or go away without surgery. General guidelines for treating symptoms of hernia are:

  1. Light exercise regularly
  2. Weight loss by diet and exercise, particularly if overweight
  3. Avoid strenuous activities that causes pain in the hernia
  4. The use of a hernia belt if unfit for hernia surgery

What are the types of hernia surgery?

Surgical repair of hernias usually involves closing the hernia with suture material or more commonly inert polypropylene mesh. Hernia mesh results in operations that are generally more durable than suture repairs, especially for large hernia defects. Most people chose 

Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery

Dr Gandy performs most hernia surgery laparoscopically. This involves using small incisions and a video camera to visualise and repair the abdominal wall. A combination of sutures and mesh is used to return the structural integrity to the abdomen.

This modern operation is less painful and allows quicker recovery

Open Hernia Surgery

Traditionally hernias were repaired with a larger incision over the hernia and multiple layers of sutures and mesh. Today, Dr Gandy uses this approach for smaller hernias when the incision can be hidden or for patients who wish to avoid mesh.

What are the risks with Hernia Surgery?

There are some risks of laparoscopic hernia repair that are shared by all operations, these risks occur rarely. They are a heart attack, stroke, a clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), significant bleeding, infection and injury to the bowel.

There are some risks that are specific to laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. They are:

  • About 1% of hernias repair patients will require revision surgery for a recurrent hernia
  • Rarely (about 0.01%) there can be an injury to the bladder, spermatic cord or nerve.
  • Sometimes the hernia cannot be repaired with the laparoscope and an old-fashioned open repair is necessary.
  • Chronic nerve irritation can be an issue with some types of hernia surgery
  • Occasionally patients have difficulty passing urine after the operation.

Can I have a hernia without mesh?

Yes, Meshless hernia repair is not often recommended, but often requested and Dr Gandy is happy to discuss these options. In general, a higher rate of hernia recurrence is observed with non-mesh hernia repair.

After Your Hernia Operation:


You will be able to go home after the operation once you are comfortable. This is usually on the day of the operation. Some patients may need one night in the hospital. You are able to eat immediately after surgery. You will be able to walk around, shower and carry a light bag after surgery.

Return To Activity, Work and Sport After Hernia Surgery

Return to work will vary depending on the procedure performed and the type of work you are engaged in. Most people can return to office work and low impact sports within 1 week. Labour intensive work and contact sports, however, may require you to take 4-6 weeks before returning to full duties.

Detailed information can found in a week by week format at https://www.keyholesurgeon.com.au/inguinal-hernia-recovery-chart-sydney-randwick.html