Contact Us Today to Make an Appointment
To make an appointment with a member of the Brown Surgical Associates' Comprehensive Hernia Center, call 401-553-8330.
A groin hernia occurs at a weak point in the abdominal wall musculature in the groin. Intestines or fat can bulge through this weakness causing a lump in the groin or on the inner thigh.
Types of Groin Hernias
An inguinal hernia is the most common type of abdominal wall hernia. Inguinal hernias more commonly occur in males and may be present at birth or develop in adulthood. Typically, symptomatic inguinal hernias should be repaired electively.
A femoral hernia is a relatively rare hernia type. These more commonly occur in females. Due to the increased risk of complications related to the hernia, it is typically recommended that this hernia be fixed regardless of symptoms.
Risk Factors for Developing a Groin Hernia
Frequent heavy lifting or strenuous activity that engages the abdominal wall core musculature may put you at risk for the development of a groin hernia. However, most groin hernias occur in patients without significant risk factors.
About Groin Hernias
In most patients, symptomatic groin hernias present with a bulge and/or pain in the groin when engaging abdominal wall core musculature. This can happen after
- Heavy lifting,
- Bowel movements
- Standing for long periods of time
The best way to diagnose a groin hernia is to contact your physician for a physical exam. Detecting a groin hernia during an exam is typically done by having the patient stand and cough while your doctor feels for a bulge in the groin.
Rarely, additional studies may be required to diagnose your hernia. These may include an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.
Treatment options include:
- Observation – After consultation with your surgeon, minor asymptomatic hernias may be observed if there are no concerning features.
- Elective hernia repair – If the hernia is causing significant symptoms your surgeon may recommend hernia repair on a non-emergent basis.
- Emergent hernia repair – If there are signs of bowel stuck within the hernia this may require emergent repair as the blood flow to the bowel may become compromised.
Surgical approaches include:
- Open hernia repair – This is done by making a small incision directly over the hernia. The hernia defect is then closed with a combination of suture material and mesh.
- Laparoscopic hernia repair – This is done with several small incisions and a laparoscopic telescope is used to visualize the hernia defect. Using this minimally invasive approach the hernia is repaired from the inside.
- Robot-assisted hernia repair – The robotic approach to hernia surgery utilizes small incisions similar to the laparoscopic approach. However, hernias that are unable to be repaired laparoscopically may be amenable to repair with a minimally invasive approach using the robotic platform.