Hernias are amongst the most common conditions treated by surgeons. In the UK alone approximately 75,000 people undergo surgical repair of groin hernias every year.
Hernias can occur all over the body but most commonly affect the abdomen. They are usually caused by weakness in the muscle layer of the abdominal wall which allows an organ, which should remain within the abdominal cavity, to migrate through the weakness to a part of the body in which it should not usually be present.
Tests and diagnosis
Risks and benefits
What to expect
Post operative expectations
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic condition caused by a reduction in the effectiveness of the barrier between the oesophagus and the stomach. Often there is an associated hiatus hernia but this is not always the case. As a consequence gastric contents, including acid, reflux into the oesophagus causing a myriad of symptoms and sometimes damage to its mucosal lining.
This is the commonest type of hernia and most commonly appears as a lump in the groin. These can occur at any time in life from infancy to old age. 95% occur in men and patients often present with a lump in both groins.
An epigastric hernia usually develops between the bottom of the ribs and the umbilicus in the mid line. It is caused by a defect in the abdominal wall allowing usually fat, but occasionally other internal organs to herniate below the skin.
Umbilical hernias can occur in the newborn and usually resolve on their own by the age of three. In adults hernias near the umbilicus are caused by an underlying defect in the abdominal wall.
These are relatively rare and account for approximately 3% of all hernias. They occur more commonly in women and rarely in children.