An inguinal hernia occurs when abdominal or pelvic contents protrude through a dilated internal ring or attenuated inguinal floor in the inguinal canal.
Presents with visible or easily palpable swelling in the groin, often with discomfort during strenuous exercise or heavy lifting.
Complications are rare but include incarceration, bowel obstruction, and strangulation.
Diagnosis is usually clinical; imaging may be helpful where there is doubt about diagnosis, but also identifies many clinically insignificant apparent hernias.
Surgical repair remains the mainstay of therapy, although watchful waiting is reasonable in adults with minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic inguinal hernia.
An inguinal hernia is a protrusion of abdominal or pelvic contents through a dilated internal inguinal ring or attenuated inguinal floor into the inguinal canal and usually, but not always, out of the external inguinal ring, causing a visible or easily palpable bulge.
History and exam
- male sex
- older age
- family history
- abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
- defective transversalis fascia
- chronic bronchitis or emphysema
- Marfan syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- heavy lifting
- benign prostatic hypertrophy
- urethral stricture
Richard Burney, MD
Professor Emeritus of Surgery
Section of General Surgery
University of Michigan
RB declares that he has no competing interests.
Dr Richard Burney would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr LS Wong and Dr EA Agaba, the previous contributors to this monograph. LSW and EAA declare that they have no competing interests.
Mark Carlson, MD, FACS
Department of Surgery
University of Nebraska Medical Center
MC declares that he has no competing interests.
Patrick J. O'Dwyer, MBChB BAO, FRCS, MCh
Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery
University Department of Surgery
PJOD declares that he has no competing interests.
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