A hernia is simply a weakness in the strength layer of the abdominal wall. The most common location is in the groin (known as an inguinal hernia), but frequently occurs at the belly button as well, also known as the umbilicus, and therefore called an umbilical hernia.
Some patients may have a ventral, or incisional hernia, which is a hernia that results after a previous operation on the abdomen. Other more unusual hernias can occur as well and would be explained in detail at the time of consultation with a surgeon.
Hernias can occur at any age, and as a rule most hernias should be repaired. Most simple hernia repairs can be performed as an outpatient procedure, but larger, more complex hernias may require a day or two of hospitalization.
If the patient is a candidate, then many hernias can be repaired laparoscopically.
Most of the time, in the adult population at least, a synthetic mesh is used to repair the hernia. The purpose of mesh is to fix the defect or hole in a tension free manner, thereby decreasing the amount of pain experienced during a routine repair, and also to reduce the incidence of recurrence of a hernia, which can vary between two to five percent of all repairs.
There are numerous types of mesh that we use and the specific types and brands can be explained further in the consultation with the surgeon preoperatively.