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Hernia Repair Surgery

Can be performed under local anaesthetic

Short, day case surgery

Reliable repair with a high success rate

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Medically reviewed by Mr Tahir Hussain
CONSULTANT GENERAL AND VASCULAR SURGEON
MBBS, FRCS (gen, surg.), MS Masters in Surgery

Last Reviewed August 4th 2022

At least one in ten people will develop a hernia at some point during their lifetime and hernia repair is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures worldwide.

What is a hernia?

A hernia occurs when an internal organ or body part protrudes through the muscle due to weakness. This then often causes a lump under the skin. Hernias can affect anyone of any age and often need surgery as treatment.

Inguinal Hernia

This is the most common type of hernia which occurs when fatty tissue or part of the intestine or bowel pokes through. This type of hernia will be noticeable around the groin area. It is generally caused by repeated strain on the abdomen but can also be associated with old age. We offer Inguinal Hernia Treatment at The Private Clinic

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia usually occurs at birth when the opening that the umbilical cord passes through does not seal properly after birth creating a weakness for fatty tissue or the bowl to proceed through causing a lump to appear on the abdomen near the belly button. It can also occur in adults, however, particularly after repeated straining on the tummy. We are able to treat Adult Umbilical Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Femoral Hernia

A femoral hernia is very similar to an Inguinal Hernia, but they are actually a lot less common and more frequent in women rather than men. They occur when the bowel or fatty tissue protrudes causing a lump in the upper thigh area. They usually appear lower than an Inguinal Hernia but have a higher risk of strangulation to the bowel and often require urgent attention. We are able to treat Femoral Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia is when the muscles beneath a previous incision on the abdomen become weak over time allowing tissue or internal organs to push through the muscle. We are not able to treat Incisional Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Epigastric Hernia

This occurs when the abdominal wall did not close completely during development. They often have minimal symptoms and often go unnoticed but, in some cases, they can cause a lump to appear below the sternum, or breastbone, and above the belly button. We are able to treat Epigastric Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Spigelian Hernia

A spigelian hernia is not very common but can be visible when there is a weakness in the spigelian fascia which is a layer of tissue that separates the two muscles groups that are at the front of the abdomen. A lump or bulge may appear to the side of the abdomen, below the belly button which is usually fatty tissue pushing through. We are able to treat Spigelian Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Muscle Hernias

These types of hernia occur when part of the muscle pokes through your tummy. They can also appear on the legs and are often mistaken for varicose veins. We are not able to treat Muscle Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Diaphragmatic Hernia

Diaphragmatic hernias are a birth defect where holes appear in the diaphragm which allows organs within the stomach to move into the chest. We are not able to treat Diaphragmatic Hernias at The Private Clinic.

Hiatus Hernia

Similar to diaphragmatic hernias, a hiatus hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes up into your chest by squeezing through a sphincter that is between the stomach and the esophagus which has weakened. This is an internal hernia that often does not have noticeable symptoms but can cause heartburn. We are not able to treat Hiatus Hernias at The Private Clinic.

What causes a hernia?

Whilst there are lots of different types of hernias, they all caused by the same thing which is an opening or weakness of muscle or fascia which allows organ or tissue to be pushed through.

Anything that causes pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia which includes:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Persistent coughing or sneezing
  • Recurrent constipation or diarrhoea

Things such as smoking, poor nutrition, pregnancy, and obesity can also put you more at risk of developing a hernia..

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump that appears usually in the abdomen or groin area. The lump can often be pushed back in and may disappear when laid down. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain or dull ache at the site of the hernia
  • Discomfort when lifting or bending over
  • Hernia Bulge increasing in size over time
  • Heavy or full feeling in the abdomen
  • Weakness or pressure in your groin
  • Heartburn

How to treat a hernia?

The first step of treating a hernia is being diagnosed at your GP surgery. They will usually be able to tell you the type of hernia that you appear to have, and they may refer you to the hospital. However, getting hernia repair surgery on the NHS may come with long wait times and difficult assessment stages which means lots of hernias are being left untreated.

If you are experiencing sudden severe pain, vomiting, difficulty pooing or passing wind or if the hernia has become firmer and can’t be pushed back in then please visit A&E as hernia obstruction or strangulation may have occurred which is a medical emergency.

Surgery is the best treatment for hernia repair, and we are pleased to offer patients private hernia repair surgery with our expert Hernia and Vascular Consultant, Mr Tahir Hussain.

There are two types of hernia repair surgery techniques, open surgery and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. Mr Hussain offers patients Open Mesh Repair surgery also known as a Hernioplasty, involves using a surgical mesh to repair the hernia opening. Instead of solely stitching the mesh into place, we instead allow the body to heal naturally around it which can help to prevent a recurrence.

Open surgery for hernia repair is the NICE recommended treatment for hernia.

Private Hernia Repair Surgery Consultations for self-pay patients are available at our hernia clinic in London Harley Street.

Benefits of Hernia Repair with Mesh:

  • Can be performed under local anaesthetic
  • Short procedure
  • Reliable repair with a high success rate
  • Day-case surgery
  • No issues for older patients

Procedure Time
30 – 60 minutes

Anaesthetic Type
Local Anaesthetic

Hospital Stay
Day Case

Support Garment
Bandaging

Washing
Keep wound dry for 5 days

Sleeping
No Restrictions

Driving
2 Days

Up & Mobile
1 day

Sexual Activity
1 week

Back to Work
2 – 3 days

Excercise
4 weeks

Travel
2 weeks

Full recovery Time
6 weeks

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What to Expect

The Consultation

A consultation will take place at our Private Hernia Clinic with our Consultant General and Vascular Surgeon, Mr Tahir Hussain who is a hernia specialist. Your surgeon will:

  • Listen to your concerns regarding your hernia
  • Review your medical history
  • Assess your hernia
  • Discuss the best options suited to you
  • Detail the risks and complications
  • Review your expectations from hernia surgery
  • Detail what will happen on the day of the procedure
  • Go through the recovery and aftercare required

You will then meet with your dedicated patient coordinator who will provide you with a detailed hernia treatment plan with full cost and pricing details so you can leave feeling well informed and able to decide if to go ahead with hernia repair surgery.

Consultation Image 1

Your pre-operative appointment

In the interests of patient safety, all our patients are assessed against our patient selection criteria. Following your hernia treatment consultation and review of your past medical history, the physician or pre-operative nurse will choose the pre-operative tests considered to be appropriate, most of which are routine blood tests.

You will be provided with a pre-operative instruction sheet ahead of your procedure which will help you to prepare for you hernia repair surgery.

Consultation Image 1

The Procedure

Open Hernia Repair surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. This will be discussed at your consultation. The procedure will be performed at our Private Hospital in Fitzroy Square.

The surgery will take around 30-60 minutes to perform and patients will be able to go home in the hours following.

On the day of your procedure, you will be given an admission time which is usually an hour before the agreed start time of surgery.

Once admitted:

  • Our nursing team will record your blood pressure and prep you ready for surgery.
  • You will meet with Mr Tahir Hussain who will go through the procedure again and answer any questions you may have.
  • You will then be marked up for surgery before being taken down to theatre.

Hernia Mesh Repair Procedure

  • Local anaesthetic will be administered.
  • A small incision will be made across the site of the hernia.
  • The problematic bulge is returned to where it came from.
  • A hernia mesh implant will then be placed over the hole that caused the hernia.
  • The mesh will then need to be held in place whilst the incision is closed to allow fibrous tissue to naturally grow around the mesh. This will help to strengthen the area and prevent another hernia from happening.
  • Once the repair is complete, the incision will be closed with dissolvable stitches and a dressing will be applied.

You will then return to a recovery room where you will be able to rest. Our specialist nursing team will be on hand to ensure you are feeling well post-procedure and once happy with your recovery post-surgery you will be discharged by your surgeon.

You will need to leave the hospital accompanied by a family member or friend; you will not be allowed to drive yourself home.

Consultation Image 1

Hernia Repair Surgery Recovery

Before you leave the hospital, you will be provided with aftercare instructions to follow and any required medication. You should ideally have someone with you for 24 hours following surgery so they can continue to monitor you.

A member of our nursing team will call you the day following your hernia repair surgery to make sure you are recovering well and feeling comfortable following the surgery and anaesthetic. You will have also been provided details on our on-call nursing team who you will be able to contact 24/7 should you have any concerns at any stage of your recovery time.

Your groin or abdomen may feel sore and uncomfortable after hernia repair surgery whilst the incision site heals. Pain medication should help manage this for the first few days post-op.

It is recommended that you drink lots of fluid and eat a healthy diet to avoid the risk of constipation.

If you need to move, cough, sneeze or stand then we recommend applying gentle pressure on the treated area before and during movement to reduce pain.

Many patients return to work 2-3 days following hernia repair surgery, this will depend on what you do for work as those with more strenuous roles may need to take longer off.

You should be able to return to most light activities after a couple of days, but we recommend avoiding heavy lifting and other strenuous activities for at least 4 weeks.

Consultation Image 1

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FAQs

Are hernias hereditary?

Hernias are caused by anatomical weakness and can’t be passed on through family, so they are not hereditary. However, you may be more prone to developing a hernia if members of your family have experienced them as there may instead be a family history of weak muscles.

How to prevent a hernia?

It is difficult to prevent the type of muscle weakness that leads to hernias, but there are things you can do to reduce pressure in your abdomen which can help to lessen your risk of developing an inguinal hernia. These include:

  • Eating high fibre foods
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Regular exercise
  • Taking care when lifting
  • Not smoking
  • Getting treatment for a persistent cough
Do hernias need treatment?

It is not possible for a hernia to treat itself and if left treated, then there is a risk that it will get bigger. In some cases, hernias can become painful and the longer they are left, the more risk there is for complications such as strangulation or obstruction which then may require emergency surgery.

What is a strangulated hernia?

A strangulated hernia occurs when the hole in which the hernia is protruding closes on whatever is pushing through. In cases where the hernia is part of the bowl, this can become very serious as it may be shutting off blood vessels which can cause the organ to experience tissue death and release toxins into the bloodstream which could then go on to cause septicaemia. It is very important that if you experience your hernia change in appearance, severe pain, vomiting or constipation then to go to A&E immediately.

Can I get hernia repair surgery on the NHS?

Yes, hernia repair surgery is available on the NHS however you will firstly need to be referred and then accepted for surgery before then joining a wait list for an operation date. This could take months.

By choosing to go private for hernia repair surgery you will not need to be referred and can see our expert Hernia & Vascular Consultant Surgeon within weeks. You will then also be able to choose when you wish to have hernia repair surgery to work around any important events.

Why don’t you offer laparoscopic keyhole surgery for hernia repair?

Keyhole surgery is a great advancement in many areas of surgery but for hernias, we have found better results from open surgery which then don’t have the risk of laparoscopic surgery.

Open surgery for Hernia repair can be performed under local anaesthetic, unlike laparoscopic keyhole surgery which is performed under general anaesthesia and does carry additional risks.

Each surgeon will have their own preferences to how they choose to perform hernia repair surgery, and this will be fully explained during your no-obligation consultation where you will get all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

What is the surgical mesh used for hernia repair?

The surgical mesh used for hernia mesh repair is a medical device that looks like a sheet. The mesh is made from either animal-derived or synthetic materials. The purpose of the mesh is to help support weakened or damaged tissue and prevent the hernia from recurring.

Is hernia mesh safe?

Hernia mesh repair has been around for many years. At The Private Clinic we ensure that we are using the best type of surgical mesh that has excellent safety rates.

A Royal College of Surgeons spokesperson has said:

“Recent studies suggest the risk of pain following an inguinal hernia repair is similar, regardless of whether the operation uses mesh or the alternative non-mesh operation.” You can read more here.

If you would like to know more about the use of mesh in hernia repair surgery, we recommend booking a consultation with our expert Consultant Surgeon who will explain it all detail to help you make an informed decision.

How is the mesh held in place in Hernia Repair surgery?

The technique commonly used by our expert surgeon involves using a mesh repair. The mesh is placed at the site where the hernia occurred to close the hole. Once the mesh is in place, it does not tend to migrate, and the surrounding tissues will grow into and around the place which will securely hold it in place against the muscle wall. Sometimes a few dissolvable sutures may be used to hold the mesh in place whilst the tissue grows around it.

More information about hernia repair with mesh can be detailed in consultation with our Consultant surgeon.

Can the mesh be rejected in hernia repair surgery?

The mesh used for hernia repair surgery is made up of synthetic materials which are non-reactive in the body and are not prone to be rejected by the body or cause any type of allergic reaction. It also has an extremely low infection rate, and it is very rare that repeat surgery is necessary.

When can I return to work after open hernia surgery?

Many patients are able to return to work 2-3 days after open hernia repair with mesh surgery. This will differ from patient to patient depending on your recovery is going and what type of job you do. Those with more strenuous and active roles may need to take longer off work to recover fully first.

When can I exercise again after open hernia surgery?

In the first couple of weeks following hernia surgery with mesh repair, we recommend walking to help keep active but listen to your body and don’t overdo it as getting risk is equally as important.

After 4-6 weeks you can return to low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. We would advise gradually returning to more high-impact exercises over the following months.

What are the risks of Open Hernia Surgery?

Is hernia surgery dangerous?

All surgical procedures will have risks and complications associated with them.

Potential risks and complications of open hernia surgery include:

Infection, seroma, hematoma, damage to the spermatic cord, testicular pain, urinary retention, damage to internal organs, adhesions, numbness, hernia recurrence, persistent pain, deep venous thrombosis, and bowel obstruction.

Hernia Repair surgery at The Private Clinic is performed by a Hernia and Vascular Consultant Surgeon who is very experienced in hernia repair surgery. At your consultation, you will discuss all of the risks and complications in detail which will allow you to make an informed decision to go ahead with hernia repair surgery or not.

How long can you wait to have hernia surgery?

If you have a hernia as a child, it is important that you seek medical help quickly as there is an increased risk of incarceration and strangulation.

As an adult, however, the risk is less and the decision to have hernia repair surgery often down to how much the hernia is affecting you.  

Hernias will not get better on their own without surgical repair and over time, there is a risk that the hernia will get bigger as the muscle wall of the belly or groin will continue to become weaker and more tissue will bulge through.

It is likely that you will be recommended to have hernia repair surgery because there is always still a risk of hernia strangulation which could become an emergency.

There is no set time in which it is safe to wait as hernias affect everyone differently. Someone with a small hernia and no other symptoms may be able to safely wait a lot longer to have hernia repair surgery than someone who has a more severe hernia with increasing discomfort.

If you are not sure if hernia surgery is right for you, we recommend a no-obligation consultation with one of our Consultant surgeons where you can discuss the procedure along with the risks and the benefits and make an informed decision that feels right for you.

Is hernia repair a major surgery?

The majority of hernia repairs are classed as routine surgical procedures however in more severe cases they could be classed as major surgery.

Hernia repair surgery at The Private Clinic takes around 30-60 minutes to perform and is commonly performed using local anaesthetic. The patients will be able to return home on the same day and begin to get back to their usual activities in the weeks following their surgical procedure.

How long does it take to heal from a hernia repair surgery?

Recovery after open hernia repair surgery is relatively quick and it will not take long before you are back to all your usual activities.

Overall patients are usually able to return to work after a couple of days although more time may be required if your job involves manual labour and strenuous activity.

Full recovery time may take four to six weeks which is why we recommend that exercise is only then gradually introduced after this time.

How painful is hernia surgery?

Open hernia repair surgery is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. This does mean that you will be awake during the procedure but the area being operated on will be numbed so you should not feel any pain.

Once the local anaesthetic begins to wear off in the hours following surgery, you may experience some post-operative pain, but this is easily managed with painkillers.

A period of discomfort is to be expected in the days following surgery. We recommend applying gentle pressure to the wound when moving from sitting to standing, coughing, laughing, and sneezing for example.  Painkillers should also be continued as per your surgeon’s instructions.

What is the best way to repair a hernia?

Surgery is the best way to repair a hernia.

At The Private Clinic, we believe open hernia repair surgery with mesh is better than laparoscopic surgery, in particular for the repair of inguinal, abdomen and groin hernias.

This is because open hernia repair does not require general anaesthetic so serious intraoperative complications are avoided and there is less chance of hernia recurrences.

Research also suggests that there is a higher risk of complications following laparoscopic hernia repair surgery in comparison to open surgery. Read more here.

To find out more about the best way to repair hernias, visit us for a consultation.

How long do you stay in hospital after hernia surgery?

Hernia repair surgery at The Private Clinic is performed as a day case procedure.

This means that there is no requirement for an overnight stay unless requested for medical reasons by the surgeon.

How to relieve hernia pain?

If your hernia is causing you pain, the best treatment that will offer lasting relief is surgery.

Laying down flat is said to help reduce hernia pain and over the counter painkillers may help but overall, if you are in pain with your hernia it is best that you seek surgical treatment.

When to worry about hernia pain?

Hernia pain is common and is because the tissues around the hole are being stretched or torn.

As the hernia increases in size, the pain may increase as additional pressure is applied to the area. The nerves surrounding the site of the hernia may also become irritated which can cause pinched nerves and pain to appear in other areas of the body too.

If you have very sudden and severe pain that is increasingly getting worse, then we recommend seeking emergency medical assistance.

What is the best doctor to see for a hernia?

If seeking hernia treatment with the NHS you are likely to be referred to a general surgeon for your surgery evaluation.

A general surgeon has a broad knowledge of many different diseases and conditions and specialises in a wider range of surgical procedures including the:

  • Abdomen and its contents
  • Digestive track
  • Head and neck
  • Skin and soft tissue
  • Blood vessels and heart
  • Surgical management of traumatic Injuries
  • Endocrine system (hormones and glands)

When you seek private hernia repair you are more likely to be seeing a hernia specialist who is experienced and highly skilled in hernia surgical repair. They are going to be performing hernia surgery on a regular basis and offer the highest quality of surgical care possible including scar care advice and continuous care throughout your recovery period.

To find out more about Private Hernia Operation please use our online contact form to book a consultation with our Consultant General and Vascular Surgeon who specialises in hernia repair at our London Hernia Clinic.

What types of hernia can we treat?

We specialise in treating abdominal hernias and groin hernias. We are able to offer:

  • Testicular hernia treatment
  • Inguinal hernia treatment
  • Male hernia surgery
  • Female hernia surgery
  • Adult Umbilical Hernia treatment
  • Spigelian Hernia treatment
  • Femoral Hernia treatment
  • Epigastric Hernia treatment
  • Hernia repair with mesh
  • Open hernia surgery
Where can I have hernia repair surgery?

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We offer hernia repair consultations at our hernia clinic in London. All Private Hernia Operations are carried out at our specalist hernia hospital in Fitzroy Square.

London Hernia Clinic – 98 Harley Street, London, W1G 7HZ

London Hernia Hospital – Fitzroy Square Hospital, Adam House, 1 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HE

Hernia Repair is Available in these Clinics

Why Choose The Private Clinic

  • Our consultant has a wide experience in performing hernia repair surgery. 
  • Hernia treatment and recovery plan that’s tailored to you.
  • With over 35 years of expert care, we pride ourselves on putting patients first and delivering exceptional service.
  • Fast access to quality hernia care.
  • 2-3mm skin incisions which leaves no scar.
  • Treatment carried out in our state of the art London Fitzroy hospital.
  • Consistent care with as many consultations and follow-ups as you require from our compassionate team, led by an experienced Consultant.
  • 24 hour patient helpline direct to your nursing team and surgeon, which means should you have any concern we are here to help.
  • Our excellent reputation for patient safety and satisfaction, honest advice and outstanding care means your journey with The Private Clinic will be an exciting experience to a newfound confidence.
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