Hernia is one of the most common problems seen in a general surgical practice. A hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall. Hernias can also be located in the umbilicus or in previous surgical incisions (incisional hernia).
Hernias usually present as a mass or lump in the groin that becomes more pronounced during the day, only to disappear when the patient reclines. Hernias can sometimes cause local discomfort. On occasion, the intestines may get caught in a hernia (incarceration).
Since most hernias will increase in size and cause increasing symptoms with time, the presence of a hernia is usually an indication for surgical repair. Due to refinement of surgical techniques hernia repair is now a relatively simple procedure that is performed as an outpatient and permits early return to work and physical activities. Most modern hernia repairs include the use of a prosthetic nylon mesh that decreases tension (and therefore pain), strengthens the abdominal wall and reduces the risk of recurrence. Hernia repairs can be accomplished by incisional (open) or laparoscopic techniques.