Types of Hernias

There are many different types of hernias that can occur throughout the abdominal region. Aside from sports hernias, here are a few of the more common types:

Below you will find a brief description of each type of hernia to help you better understand the different types of hernias. More detailed hernia information can be found by clicking on the name of the hernia type.

Inguinal hernias occur in the groin, which is the area between your abdomen and thigh. As the most common type of hernia in adults, inguinal hernias are most common with men although they can also occur in women. With an inguinal hernia, the contents of the
abdomen - namely the intestine - protrude through a weakness or tear in the abdominal wall muscle creating a visible bulge. A hernia can also be painful. Pain caused by an inguinal hernia can be a constant, daily pain or may be sporadic, occurring once in a while. Inguinal hernias can also be bilateral, occurring on both sides of the abdomen instead of a single side.

Umbilical hernias occur in or around the naval, or umbilicus. This type of hernia is may be due to congenital factors. Umbilical hernias may also result from sudden or repeated strain or stress on the abdominal muscles. In adults, as with any hernia, an umbilical hernia will not heal and go away but rather grows larger with time. Occasionally an umbilical hernia may become problematic in that incarceration or strangulation can occur. With infants, however, an umbilical hernia may slowly close. In infants umbilical hernias surgery can delayed until age 3 or 4 unless the hernia causes problems.

Incisional hernias can occur in the abdomen in the area of any prior surgical incision or scar. Hernias of this type are often accompanied by a swelling or bulge near the area of the prior incision, typically along straight incisions or scars running down from the breastbone to the pubic area. Incisional hernias can be a result of 1) tension placed on the tissue from the prior surgical procedure, 2) disruption in the general area of prior suturing to the abdominal wall or 3) inadequate healing, which can be due to obesity, metabolic diseases, infection or poor nutrition. Since suturing (tension) can be the cause of some incisional hernias, it is highly advised that incisional hernias be repaired with the "tension free" mesh technique to avoid future recurrence. Pain may be an early warning sign of an incisional hernia, as there may not be any initial presence of a bulge, though this type of hernia can develop soon after the original surgery or at any time thereafter.

"It was incredible that the county sent me to a doctor of his stature. I was relieved upon meeting him for the first time. He took a look at everything and told me that he could fix not only the inguinal hernia, but also two complications I had suffered as a result of letting the hernia go for too long. So it was very important to find a doctor who knew what my job was, what it entailed and could take care of my inguinal hernia and the complications. And I am more than satisfied. I just can't believe it's only been four weeks since the operating room and here I am!"
- John M.
Operations Captain, Lifeguard Division
Los Angeles County Fire Dept.

Femoral hernias are similar to inguinal hernias. The femoral hernia occurs when abdominal contents are forced through the "femoral canal". Typically this type of hernia forms near the crease of leg in the abdominal region, but in an area relatively lower than the more common inguinal hernia. The two types of hernias are often too difficult to tell apart in diagnosis, which is why a hernia specialist is often required to confirm diagnosis. Femoral hernias are more likely to become incarcerated or strangulated because of their location, which is why repair is strongly advised upon diagnosis of this type of hernia.

Epigastric hernias occur between the lower part of the breastbone and the naval and is caused by a weakness or opening in the fibrous tissue of the abdomen. This type of hernia usually consists of fatty tissue and rarely contains intestinal tissue. Although generally small in size (no bigger than a golf ball), epigastric hernias can easily become pinched in their small area, sometimes causing a great deal of pain.

Ventral hernias may occur anywhere on the abdominal wall. The most common location is the midline. They are may be composed of fatty tissue or intestines. Ventral hernias can develop as a result of an increase in intra-abdominal pressure from lifting or straining.


"I am very happy with the outcome of the surgery, your staff and the time you took with me after surgery. I recommend that anyone please not hesitate to have their hernia repaired with you and your clinic. I felt very comfortable before and after surgery, and the recovery was very quick.

I am glad that I went to the Hernia Center of Southern California in Pasadena to finally put an end to my hernia, knowing it was repaired by the mesh system and the hernia will not come back.

Please do yourself a favor. If you have a hernia, this is the clinic to get it repaired at. They will repair your hernia safely and effectively. Please use my testimonial as you see fit. Thank you again for a job well done."
- Perry Stevens
Reno , NV


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