Types of Hernias

The abdominal wall is made up of multiple layers. The strongest layer is tough connective tissue called the fascia. Hernia is a gap in this fascia layer. Gaps tend to occur at places in the abdomen that are naturally weaker. When a hernia develops, sometimes internal contents (organs or fat) push through the gap. Patients often notice a bulge under the skin where this has happened.

Groin
The groin has a complex anatomy that makes it susceptible to several types of hernias. One of these is inguinal hernia, which is more common in men. Indirect inguinal hernia develops because of weakness that remains after the testicles descend into the scrotum during early male development. Direct inguinal hernia develops over time, because of a weakened abdominal wall.

Femoral hernia occurs when a passage in the groin — which normally allows the main artery, vein and nerve of the legs to pass through — is large enough for other parts of the body to abnormally pass through. These hernias should be fixed as soon as possible, because they are at higher risk of trapping your intestines.

“Sports hernia” is not really a hernia, but a ligament or muscle injury in the groin area. While surgery might in fact help strengthen the abdominal wall and allow the injury to heal, non-surgical treatments also are helpful.

Ventral
Located at the belly button, umbilical hernias are quite common. They often present during later stages of pregnancy when the belly button protrudes. Repair could require a simple stitch closure or possibly a prosthetic mesh, depending on the size of the hernia. Incisional hernias develop at the site of a previous abdominal surgery scar (this is a known complication of abdominal surgery).

Flank
This hernia occurs through weakness in the muscle layers of the patient’s side. They are less common than ventral or groin hernias. Surgical repair can be complex, and may utilize a variety of techniques including open, laparoscopic and robotic.