A hernia refers to the protrusion (bulge) of an organ through a weakened section of the abdominal wall, and often results as a visible lump or bulge. The most common location for a hernia is the groin (inguinal hernia), but it can also form in other areas. Other common hernias include paraumbilical hernias (which develop either sides of the navel) and incisional hernias (which occur at various abdominal sites following abdominal surgery).
Surgery is the main treatment for hernias and the specific procedure will depend on the location of the hernia. It might involve making an cut in the abdomen to return the abdominal contents to the abdominal cavity. Stitches and nylon meshes are used to close and strengthen the weakened area of the abdominal muscle. Inguinal hernias (at the groin) are usually treated using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. This procedure uses a flexible and slender instrument, called a laparoscope, which is inserted through a small cut in the groin, repairing the hernia from the inside and without the need for a large cut in the abdomen.