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Femoral Hernias

Femoral hernias occur when the contents of the abdomen (piece of fat, small intestine or bowel) protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall into the femoral canal. Femoral hernias occur mostly in women because the anatomy of the female pelvis.

A Video on Femoral Hernias and their Repair

Symptoms

Femoral hernias generally present as a lump in the groin when standing and may change in size depending upon the pressure that is on the intestines. There may or may not be any pain associated with the hernia but strangulation of the bowel due to femoral hernia is quite common and so is often discovered when there is an unexplainable bowel obstruction.

Femoral hernias and Inguinal hernias can often be mistaken for one another due to the close proximity of their locations. Generally this distinction cannot be made unless the hernia is operated on.

Causes

As with most hernias there is no direct cause but certain activities and physical conditions can create the environment necessary to put an individual at risk of a femoral hernia. These include:

  • obesity
  • smoking which can cause cronic coughing
  • carrying or pushing heavy items which strain the abdominal wall
  • pushing when suffering constipation

Repair

Laparoscopic repair of a femoral hernia is the least invasive form of treatment for this type of hernia. It is important to have femoral hernias repaired due to the risk of bowel obstructions which can be a dangerous complication of this type of hernia.

The hernia is repaired by inserting the instruments laparoscopically and pushing the hernia back into the abdominal cavity and then using sutures or surgical mesh the weakness is repaired. The mesh is sewn into the abdominal wall to strengthen the area of weakness. The whole procedure takes from 40mins to an hour.

Read more about different types of hernias.