Treatments and tests

Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia
An inguinal hernia

What is an inguinal hernia?

Weak spots can develop in the layer of muscle in your abdominal wall, resulting in the contents of your abdomen pushing through. This produces a lump called a hernia.

An inguinal hernia happens at the inguinal canal. This is a narrow passage in which blood vessels supplying your testicle pass through your abdominal wall.

A hernia can be dangerous because your intestines or other structures within your abdomen can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated hernia).

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should no longer have the hernia. Surgery should prevent the serious complications that a hernia can cause.

Are there any alternatives to an open inguinal hernia repair?

Inguinal hernias can be repaired using keyhole surgery.

You can sometimes control the hernia with a truss (padded support belt) or simply leave it alone. It will not get better without surgery.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes about 45 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut on your groin and remove the ‘hernial sac’.

They will strengthen the muscle layer with stitches, usually inserting a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spot, and close your skin.

What complications can happen?

General complications may include:

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • unsightly scarring
  • blood clots.

Specific complications may include:

  • developing a collection of blood or fluid
  • difficulty passing urine
  • injury to structures that come from your abdomen and are within the hernia
  • temporary weakness of your leg
  • continued discomfort or pain in your groin
  • injury to nerves
  • damage to the blood supply of your testicle.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day. Increase how much you walk around over the first few days. You will be able to return to work after two to four weeks, depending on how much surgery you need and your type of work.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The hernia can come back.

Where to get help


Last reviewed: 13-12-2018
Acknowledgements
Patient Safety & Clinical Quality
EIDO Healthcare Australia

The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Department of Health Western Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.