Inguinal hernia is the most common form of hernia, occurring in 90% of men and 10% of women. It is estimated that one in three men will experience it at some point in their lives. Worldwide, more than 20 million operations are performed annually for the treatment of inguinal hernias.
What is an inguinal hernia?
An inguinal hernia is a form of hernia of the abdominal wall, which occurs in the groin, the area between the torso and the thigh. It is created when contents of the abdominal cavity (fat or part of the intestine) push through a gap of the lower abdominal wall.
It usually occurs on only one groin (right or left side) in which case it is called unilateral. Rarely, it appears on both sides at the same time and is then called bilateral. Another distinction for inguinal hernias is whether they are direct or indirect, depending on the type of their protrusion.
General Surgeon Pericles Chrysocheris has been certified by the American Board of Surgery since 2008, while he was successfully recertified in 2019. He has extensive experience in the treatment of hernias of the abdominal wall and can recommend the appropriate treatment method, perfectly adapted to your own needs.
What are the causes and risk factors for inguinal hernia?
An inguinal hernia is created mainly due to the increase in intra-abdominal pressure. In addition, some people are at a higher risk of developing it due to a genetic predisposition. The most common causes of inguinal hernia are:
- heavy manual work
- vigorous exercise
- chronic prolonged cough
- chronic constipation
What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?
In the initial stage, the inguinal hernia shows no symptoms apart perhaps from a swelling at the site. This swelling may become more visible in certain positions, for instance when standing.
When symptoms become more apparent, those may include pain or discomfort at the site of the swelling.
As the hernia deteriorates it is characterized as “irreducible”, meaning it being not possible for the contents of the protrusion (fat or part of the intestine) to return to their original position without surgical intervention.
If an inguinal hernia is left untreated, then it may grow to the point of become strangulated cutting off the flow of blood to the tissue that is trapped in it. This is a life-threatening medical condition and requires immediate surgical treatment. The symptoms of a strangulated inguinal hernia include severe pain, vomiting and ileus.
As mentioned, in the early stages of an inguinal hernia, symptoms are mild to non-existent. However, this should not deter the patient from seeking treatment. In fact, it is very important that inguinal hernia is treated in its initial stages, in order to avoid future unpleasant situations and complications. As a strangulated inguinal hernia can be life-threatening, it should always be treated as soon as possible.
The treatment for inguinal hernia
Inguinal hernia, like any other form of hernia, cannot be treated without surgery, as this is the only way to fully repair it.
The most modern method of treating inguinal hernia is Laparoscopic Repair (TEP). The surgery is performed laparoscopically through three very small incisions in the abdominal wall. During the operation, the surgeon seals the gap of the abdominal wall with a special synthetic mesh, which is friendly to the body.
Below in the 1st image you can see the difference in the size of the incision in the open and laparoscopic method (the dots inside and below the navel) respectively.
The advantages of Laparoscopic Repair include:
- faster recovery time
- less intraoperative and postoperative pain
- decreased risk complications
- speedy return to everyday life
- improved cosmetic results
After a period of time to be determined by the Surgeon, patients may return to their daily activities.
In case you notice alarming symptoms, contact General Surgeon Pericles Chrysocheris immediately for timely treatment of the inguinal hernia without the risk of complications.