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Femoral hernia repair

Femoral hernia repair is surgery to repair a hernia near the groin or upper thigh. A femoral hernia is tissue that bulges out of a weak spot in the groin. Usually this tissue is part of the intestine.

During surgery to repair the hernia, the tissue is pushed back in. The weakened area is sewn closed or strengthened. This repair can be done with open or laparoscopic surgery.

You will probably receive general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for this surgery. If your hernia is small, you may receive local anesthesia and medicine to relax you. You will be awake but pain-free.

In open surgery:

  • Your surgeon will make a surgical cut in your groin area.
  • Your surgeon will find the hernia and separate it from the tissues around it. Some of the extra hernia tissue may be removed. Your surgeon will push the rest of the intestinal contents back inside your abdomen.
  • Then your surgeon will close your weakened abdominal muscles with stitches.
  • Often a piece of mesh is also sewn into place to strengthen your abdominal wall. This repairs the weakness in the wall of your abdomen.

Your surgeon may use a laparoscope instead of doing open surgery.

  • A laparoscope is a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end that allows your surgeon to see inside your body.
  • Your surgeon will make 3 or 4 small cuts and insert the laparoscope and other small instruments through them.
  • The same repair will be done as in open surgery. The benefits of this surgery are a faster healing time, less pain, and less scarring.

Alternative Names

Femorocele repair; Herniorrhaphy; Hernioplasty - femoral

Why the Procedure Is Performed

All femoral hernias need to be repaired, even if they do not cause any symptoms. If the hernia is not repaired, the intestine can get trapped in the hernia (called an incarcerated or strangulated hernia).

When a hernia is incarcerated or strangulated, blood supply to the intestines can be cut off. This can be life threatening. If this happens, you would need emergency surgery.

Risks

Risks for any anesthesia are:

Risks for any surgery are:

Risks for this surgery are:

  • Damage to blood vessels that go to the leg
  • Damage to the nearby nerve
  • Damage near the reproductive organs, for women
  • Long-term pain
  • Return of the hernia

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse if:

  • You are or could be pregnant
  • You are taking any drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription

During the week before your surgery:

  • Several days to a week before the procedure, you may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and other drugs like these.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.

On the day of your surgery:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After the Procedure

Most people can go home on the same day as the surgery. Some need to stay in the hospital overnight. If your surgery was done as an emergency, you may need to stay in the hospital a few days longer.

After surgery, you may have some swelling, bruising, or soreness around the surgical cut. Taking pain medicines and moving carefully can help.

  • You can return to light activities soon after this procedure. But you will have to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a few weeks.
  • Do not do activities that can increase pressure in the groin area. Move slowly from a lying to a seated position and avoid forceful sneezing, excess coughing, and constipation.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome of this surgery is usually very good. In a few persons, the hernia returns.

References

Malangoni MA, Rosen MJ. Hernias. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 46.

Updated: 1/29/2013

John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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