Abdominal Hernias

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1- Introduction

2- Anatomical Overview

3- Treatment

4- purposes 


abdominal hernia occurs when an internal organ or tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. This condition can result in a visible bulge and may cause discomfort or pain, particularly when coughing, bending over, or lifting heavy objects. Common types of abdominal hernias include inguinal (groin), umbilical (navel), and incisional (through a surgical scar).

© image from snell's clinical anatomy

Anatomical Overview

The majority of abdominal hernias occur in the inguinal region. Inguinal hernias account for 75% of abdominal hernias. These herniations occur in both sexes,but most inguinal hernias (approximately 86%) occur in males because of the passage of the spermatic cord through the inguinal canal.An inguinal hernia is a protrusion of parietal peritoneum and viscera, such as the small intestine, through a normal or abnormal opening from the cavity in which they belong. Most hernias are reducible, meaning they can be returned to their normal place in the peritoneal cavity by appropriate manipulation. The two types of inguinal hernia are direct and indirect inguinal hernias. More than two thirds are indirect hernias.

Umbilical hernias are common in neonates because the anterior abdominal wall is relatively weak in the umbilical ring, which had failed to close normally, causing a protrusion at the umbilicus, especially in low-birth-weight infants. Umbilical hernias are usually small and result from increased intra-abdominal pressure in the presence of weakness and incomplete closure of the anterior abdominal wall after ligation of the umbilical cord at birth. Acquired umbilical hernias occur most commonly in women and obese people. Extraperitoneal fat and/or peritoneum protrude into the hernial sac.

© image from www.researchgate.net


  1. Watchful Waiting:
    • Small, Asymptomatic Hernias: If the hernia is small and not causing symptoms, a doctor may recommend watchful waiting with regular check-ups to monitor any changes.
    • Lifestyle Modifications: Patients may be advised to avoid heavy lifting, maintain a healthy weight, and manage conditions that increase abdominal pressure, such as chronic cough or constipation.

Surgical Treatment:

  1. Hernia Repair Surgery:
    • Open Hernia Repair:
      • Procedure: Involves making an incision near the hernia site. The protruding tissue is pushed back into place, and the weakened area of the abdominal wall is repaired, often with synthetic mesh to strengthen the area.
      • Recovery: Requires several weeks for full recovery, and patients may need to limit physical activity during this period.
    • Laparoscopic Hernia Repair:
      • Procedure: Involves several small incisions through which surgical instruments and a laparoscope (a small camera) are inserted. The hernia is repaired from the inside using mesh.
      • Recovery: Typically shorter recovery time and less postoperative pain compared to open surgery, with patients often returning to normal activities sooner.
    • Robotic Hernia Repair:
      • Procedure: Similar to laparoscopic surgery but performed using robotic arms controlled by the surgeon. Offers greater precision and flexibility.
      • Recovery: Comparable to laparoscopic surgery with potential benefits in complex cases.

Postoperative Care:

  • Pain Management: Pain relief medications may be prescribed to manage discomfort after surgery.
  • Activity Restrictions: Patients are usually advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for a period following surgery to allow proper healing.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: Regular check-ups to monitor recovery and ensure the hernia has not recurred.


  • Relieve Symptoms:

    • Discomfort and Pain: Many hernias cause discomfort, pain, or a noticeable bulge, especially during physical activity or straining. Treatment aims to alleviate these symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life.
  • Prevent Complications:

    • Hernia Enlargement: Untreated hernias can grow larger over time, becoming more difficult to treat and increasing the risk of complications.
    • Strangulation: This serious condition occurs when the blood supply to the herniated tissue is cut off, leading to tissue death. Timely treatment is crucial to prevent this life-threatening complication.
    • Obstruction: In cases where part of the intestine becomes trapped in the hernia, it can lead to a bowel obstruction, causing severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and the need for emergency surgery.
  • Restore Normal Anatomy:

    • Reposition Protruding Tissue: Surgical treatment involves repositioning the herniated tissue back into its proper place and repairing the defect in the abdominal wall to restore normal anatomy and function.
  • Strengthen the Abdominal Wall:

    • Prevent Recurrence: Repairing the weakened area of the abdominal wall, often with synthetic mesh, helps to reinforce it and reduce the likelihood of the hernia recurring.
  • Improve Quality of Life:

    • Enhance Physical Activity: Successfully treating a hernia allows patients to return to normal activities and exercise without the limitations imposed by hernia-related pain and discomfort.
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