Inguinal and femoral hernias, referred to as groin hernias, are very common. Approximately 10,000 hernia operations are performed in Victoria each year. Inguinal hernias occur in up to 10 percent of males but are much less common in females. Femoral hernias are more common in women than men but are much less common than inguinal hernias. The most serious complication of groin hernias is strangulation. This occurs when a segment of the bowel is caught in the hernia and becomes obstructed or even gangrenous – medical attention must be sought immediately. This complication is more common in femoral hernias. Hernias never cure themselves and almost always require surgery for repair.
LapSurgery Australia offers a complete service for all hernias including groin hernias, umbilical and incisional hernias using both keyhole and non-keyhole techniques. As we can perform both keyhole and non-keyhole procedures equally well, you can be assured that you will receive appropriate advice and skilled surgery specific to your condition and circumstances. The merits of keyhole vs non keyhole surgery will be discussed with you carefully before surgery is undertaken.
Costs vary depending on your health insurance. The funding provided by Medicare and Health Funds for this operation is no higher than for the old non-keyhole method. Consequently, there will be out of pocket costs involved and the following information explains what to expect. LapSurgery Surgeons do not operate in public hospitals but should you wish to pay to have your surgery done in a private hospital an estimate of costs can be provided following a consultation with one of our surgeons.
There will be a co-payment to the surgeon before the operation and the balance of the surgeon's account is sent directly to the Health Fund. Full informed financial consent will be provided prior to your surgery.
There will be charges from both the Assistant Surgeon and Anaesthetist. Accounts for these services vary and are independent of LapSurgery Australia. We are able to advise you of the individuals providing these services once a date has been scheduled for your surgery.
Out of pocket costs for the Hospital vary depending on your Health Fund, level of cover, excess etc. For an accurate cost, please refer to your Health Fund or the Hospital.
The Medicare item number you will need to quote is 30609.
It is your responsibility to check that your health insurance is up to date and whether there will be any excess charges. LapSurgery Australia cannot check this for you.
The normal services required for your operation are listed above. Occasionally patients require additional medical care and may incur charges for pathology, radiology and other specialists.
Mesh infection is a very rare complication.
The chance of the hernia coming back later in your life is very low.
Occasionally patients can have ongoing pain at the site of the hernia but this is less common with keyhole surgery.
There are three main advantages to a keyhole surgery vs non-keyhole:
The small incisions result in less pain and earlier return to work, especially when hernias are present on both sides.
The positioning of the mesh on the inside of the defect is mechanically better than when placed on the outside as in the non-keyhole operation.
By positioning the mesh on the inside of the defect, the very sensitive nerves in the inguinal canal are not damaged or irritated by the mesh as can occur in the non-keyhole operation.
Our BMI calculator will alert you if you are at risk of medical problems.
A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or body part through the wall of a cavity in which it is normally enclosed. What this means, in the case of groin hernia, is that part of the abdominal contents, either bowel or fatty tissue, protrudes through the abdominal wall at the inguinal or femoral canal and comes out just below the skin. In males, a large hernia can descend into the scrotum.
The inguinal canal is an oblique passage through the abdominal wall which, in the male, transmits the artery and vein to the testicle and the vas deferens. In the female, only the round ligament of the uterus goes through the inguinal canal and this is perhaps why inguinal hernia is less common in women. The inguinal canal is one of several weak spots in the abdominal wall where a hernia can occur.
The commonest symptom of a hernia is the presence of a lump in the groin. Sometimes hernias can be painful, but small hernias may not be noticed initially by the patient and are sometimes found unexpectedly at a routine examination. Often the lump is more prominent at the end of the day, disappears when lying down and may not be apparent after a night's sleep.
In rare instances, the first presentation of a hernia is a very painful lump in the groin which does not go away when lying down and may be associated with generalised pain across the abdomen and vomiting. This is caused by strangulation and should this happen it is an extreme emergency and immediate medical attention must be sought.
For the vast majority of patients, a hernia is diagnosed by a simple physical examination from your General Practitioner or specialist. In some cases, ultrasound examination of the groin is used but most surgeons are sceptical of the accuracy of ultrasound examination for hernia. The results of ultrasound examination must be interpreted in conjunction with a physical examination by your General Practitioner or specialist surgeon.
Hernias which occur in childhood or adolescence are probably congenital. In adults a hernia is usually acquired. Although not well proven, it is thought that occupations involving heavy lifting or manual work increase the chance of developing a hernia. Cigarette smoking, chronic constipation, obesity, prostate disease and chronic coughing are also thought to predispose to hernia formation. In many patients none of these factors is present and the development of a hernia is thought to be related to the fact that the inguinal and femoral canals are natural areas of weakness in the body wall.
A truss is a type of belt with padding which goes over the inguinal canal to keep the hernia from coming out during normal activity. They are generally uncomfortable, will not cure the hernia and do not prevent strangulation. We strongly recommend against the use of a truss except in those very rare people who are too sick to undergo operative repair of the hernia. A truss must NEVER be used on a femoral hernia.
Laparoscopic or keyhole surgery for hernias has evolved over the last 20 years. There have been several different ways of performing keyhole surgery for hernia, but the worldwide trend is toward the totally extra peritoneal (TEP) repair which is what we at LapSurgery Australia perform. The advantage of this method is that the peritoneum (the cavity containing the bowels) is not entered. A space is made by inflating a balloon between the lining of the peritoneal cavity and the groin muscles and inflating the space with CO2 gas to create a working space.
The standard (non-keyhole) operation involves a large incision in the groin (or both groins if there are hernias present on both sides), finding the hernia and patching the defect with polypropylene mesh.
In the keyhole operation a 1.5 cm (3/4 inch) incision is made just below the umbilicus (bellybutton) and two further tiny incisions are placed between the umbilicus and the pubis. No further incisions are required even if there are hernias in both groins. The hernia is identified and the defect repaired with mesh as in the open (non-keyhole) operation.
No. There are a number of reasons why an individual may be better off with the non-keyhole operation:
1. Very large hernias may not be suitable for keyhole repair.
2. Patients with previous lower abdominal surgery may not be suitable.
3. Patients unable to tolerate a general anaesthetic are not suitable.
4. Patients who do not have a need for quick recovery may be better off with the less complex non-keyhole operation.
5. Patients without private health cover may find the extra hospital costs of the keyhole operation are not justified.
Keyhole hernia surgery can be performed at: