Hernia Glossary

Femoral hernia

A femoral hernia is an opening in the abdominal wall, just next to an inguinal hernia. The same stretching of the abdominal wall contributes to these hernias. By repairing the inside of the abdominal wall, I repair or reinforce the femoral canal in all patients.


A protrusion from inside the abdominal cavity through the abdominal wall, just under the skin.

Incarcerated hernia

A situation where the contents inside the hernia are stuck outside of the abdominal wall, often resulting in pain.

Inguinal hernia

In the lower part of the abdomen, there are natural openings to allow blood vessels and sperm (in men) to travel through the abdominal wall. This opening and the space around it are a weak link in our abdominal wall. over time, the tissues can stretch, leading to a condition in which the abdominal contents protrude through this weakness, leading to an inguinal hernia. One in four men will get an inguinal hernia in their lifetime and one in four of those men will get hernias on both sides. Women are much less likely to develop inguinal hernias than men.

Open surgery

Any time an incision is used to repair the hernia. This can be performed under local anesthesia and sedation.


The thin sac or membrane that wraps the inside of the abdominal wall. The intestine, liver spleen, and internal abdominal fat are inside the peritoneum. The Peritoneum is the tissue that slides through a hole in the abdominal wall.

Pre-peritoneal Space

This is the space between the abdominal wall and peritoneum. This is the space that I use to place the mesh inside the abdominal wall. This is the same place that laparoscopic hernia mesh is placed.

Strangulated hernia

In cases of incarcerated hernia, the tissue becomes so swollen that blood cannot return from the tissue inside the hernia. This causes severe pain and leads to tissue death and is potentially life threatening.

Umbilical hernia

Another common type of hernia, the umbilical hernia is found in the umbilicus (“belly button”). This hernia occurs because the hole which brought us blood and oxygen in the womb does not completely close after birth. If a bulge/hernia appears over time, it is usually because of increased abdominal pressure or stretching of our tissues. Abdominal diseases, pregnancy and being overweight can lead to these hernias. Like inguinal hernias, most surgeons repair these hernias only when symptoms develop. Mesh is commonly used to repair almost all hernias since the recurrence rate with suture repair is more than 50%.

Laproscopic surgery

A technique that utilizes small incisions to place thin, long instruments to do surgery. This often involves general anesthesia and has replaced traditional surgery in some cases.

Ventral & epigastric hernias

Like umbilical hernias, these hernias are found in the front side (ventral) of the abdomen.

Hernia recurrence

A recurrent hernia is a hernia that comes back sometime after surgery. This occurs in about 1 in 100 patients. A recurrence occurs as a result of poor wound healing, continued stretching or stress on the abdominal wall, or a technical error on the part of the surgeon. Given the 95-99% success rate of most hernia repairs, hernia surgery has better outcomes than and some of the lowest risk among most other elective operations.
The above information is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional evaluation by an experienced surgeon.