What is a hernia?

A hernia is not always visible to the patient. The diagnosis of an inguinal hernia is made by a clinical examination of the groin in a standing position and is also compared to the sides under abdominal pressure or whilst coughing.
An ultrasound examination can be an additional tool for a more precise diagnosis.

There are many surgical options available today for the treatment of an inguinal hernia. The surgical procedure to be used depends on the type and size of the hernia, age and secondary conditions, the risk profile of the patient, physical and professional requirements and the patient’s wishes. Among the risk factors that promote the development of an inguinal hernia are

– Overweight
– Asthma, diabetes, COPD, chronic bronchitis
– Genetic factors (increased incidence of inguinal hernia, umbilical hernia and   scar hernia in family members



In the human body,  one finds a passage in the groin that is bounded by the abdominal muscles. Through this passage leads, in the case of men, the spermatic cord with its accompanying blood vessels and, in the case of women, the retaining band which holds the womb in place. Does a weakening of the abdominal musculature occur, the passage will widen allowing bowels to enter, which can be palpable and even visible. A hernia can grow in size as time progresses, which often happens when the interior pressure of the abdomen rises during coughing, pressing or sneezing.


The hernia occurs above the inguinal ligament, regarding men, it can stretch down deep into the scrotum. Being a man increases the chances of suffering from hernia. The ratio to women amounts to ca. 8:1. This can be explained by the “wandering” of the testicles during embryonic stage. Initially the testicles are situated in the abdomen and travel through the abdominal wall to reach their final destination, which leaves a sort of predetermined breaking point in the abdominal wall.

How is a hernia diagnosed?

A hernia is not always discernible by the patient himself by looking in the mirror. Diagnostics of a hernia consists of a clinical examination while the patient stands or in lying position using abdominal press or coughing comparing left and right side. For more precise diagnostics an ultrasound examination of the groin area can be useful in some cases.


What different types of hernias are there?

There are two types of hernia distinguishable by their localisation. The medial (central) hernia is also called direct and the lateral (sideward) is called indirect. Frequently intermediate forms or combined hernia of medial and lateral hernia occur.


What is the procedure of a hernia surgery?

Although most of the hernias bear no immediate danger, the risk of resulting incarceration of bowels persists if untreated, which may lead to severe complications. Bowel entrapment is not only very painful, but must be treated as an emergency, which needs to be remedied by surgery right away! Minor hernia with small and level swelling (ultrasound exam) are however, especially in the case of young patients, who do not suffer from severe pain or other symptoms, rather harmless. In this case the hernia can observed and regularly examined by the doctor for 6-8 weeks until further measures need to be considered.


There a numerous different surgical options to treat hernia nowadays. The one that is best suited for any individual hernia depends on its type and magnitude, age and other diseases, the risk profile of the patient, physical and professional requirements and the patient’s wishes. Risk factors that contribute to increase the chance of suffering from hernia are among other things:


  • overweight
  • asthma, diabetes, COPD, chronic bronchitis
  • genetic factors (hernia in the family)