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A hernia is a small lump that occurs when some of the contents of the abdomen (such as part of the intestine) push through a weakness in the abdominal wall. They can occur in anyone, however commonly result from a strain in the stomach area, when pressure is raised through activities including persistent coughing, lifting heavy objects or straining on the toilet.

They can be repaired through an operation lasting around an hour which is usually done as a day case.

Why you might need it

Although a few people may be born with hernias, they are far more likely to develop in later life. A hernia is a small lump that occurs when some of the contents of the abdomen push through a weakness in the abdominal wall, leaving a visible protrusion at times.

They are not usually serious but yours might have been causing you pain and discomfort that only surgery will fix (source: British Hernia Society). Your consultant is also likely to recommend surgery if your symptoms are severe or getting worse, or if the hernia is affecting your ability to carry out your normal activities.

Most hernias will generally become bigger and more uncomfortable over time (source: British Hernia Society).

Our highly qualified consultant will understand these issues and will help you reach a decision that is right for you.

Sometimes if the hernia contains a part of your bowel, muscle or other tissue, there is a small risk of strangulation or obstruction. You should seek urgent medical attention if you have severe pain in the affected area as a strangulated hernia will require emergency surgery (source: NHS Choices).

A routine hernia operation is likely to take around an hour and you will have either a general or local anaesthetic. Both keyhole and open surgical techniques are used, depending on your particular circumstances and the type and severity of your hernia.

Most hernias are treated as day cases; it is likely that you will be able to go home on the day of the operation or the next day.

If you decide to have your treatment with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that undergoing surgery might cause you anxiety and worry - even if having a hernia repaired is a relatively common and straightforward procedure. Our experienced and caring clinical staff will be there with you every step of the way. As well as delivering excellent care and treatment, they’ll answer your questions and provide reassurance if you are worried at any stage.

Whether you have a general or a local anaesthetic will depend on the type and severity of your hernia, the particular type of surgery used to repair your hernia and your individual circumstances (such as other medical conditions). Your consultant will discuss this with you before surgery.

Generally, the procedure will take less than an hour.

There are two ways a hernia can be treated:

Laparoscopic (keyhole) inguinal hernia repair

Your surgeon will make two or three small cuts to your abdomen, through which a tube like camera will be passed to enable your surgeon to view the hernia. Special surgical instruments are then used to repair the hernia and a synthetic mesh may be used to strengthen the abdominal wall. This is less invasive than older methods.

Open inguinal hernia repair

A single incision of around 5-10cm is made and the bulge is pushed back into place. A mesh may be used to support the area. The skin is then closed using dissolvable stitches.

The procedures used during your operation will depend on the type of hernia you have.

Aftercare

After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.

Repairing a hernia is routinely performed as a day-case procedure, without an overnight stay in hospital.

According to the British Hernia Society, most of those people who stay overnight after a hernia operation do so because they would be alone at home or they have other complicating medical conditions. You might also stay in overnight if you find it difficult to pass urine after surgery. Most people make a full recovery within a few weeks (source: NHS Choices).


Pain relief

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

When we discharge you we'll talk to you about whether your stitches need to be removed and your dressing and make an appointment to see your consultant again.

If you have dissolvable stitches these will disappear after about seven to ten days. If you have non-dissolvable stitches, your nurse will make an appointment for you to have them removed in the out-patient clinic.

You will probably be able to return to your job within a week or two, although you should not do any heavy lifting at home or work for at least six weeks. We'll talk about this with you.


How your loved ones can help

Once you’re ready to be discharged, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or relative to take you home as you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them if they can run some light errands such as shopping for you as you won’t be feeling up to it.


After you leave hospital

Even once you’ve left hospital, we’re still here for you. Your consultant is likely to want to see you after your operation, a follow up appointment will be made before you leave.

On rare occasions, complications following hernia surgery can occur. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.

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