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Open inguinal hernia repair (female)

3-minute read

This page will give you information about an open inguinal hernia repair (for women). If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

What is an inguinal hernia?

Weak spots can develop in the layer of muscle in your abdominal wall, resulting in the contents of your abdomen pushing through. This produces a lump called a hernia.

An inguinal hernia happens at the inguinal canal. This is a narrow passage in which blood vessels pass through your abdominal wall.

A hernia can be dangerous because your intestines or other structures within your abdomen can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated hernia).

Illustration showing an inguinal hernia repair for women.
An inguinal hernia repair for women.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should no longer have the hernia. Surgery should prevent the serious complications that a hernia can cause.

Are there any alternatives to an open inguinal hernia repair?

Inguinal hernias can be repaired using keyhole surgery.

You can sometimes control the hernia with a truss (padded support belt) or simply leave it alone. It will not get better without surgery.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes about 45 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut on your groin and remove the ‘hernial sac’. They will strengthen the muscle layer with stitches, usually inserting a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spot, and close your skin.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • unsightly scarring
  • blood clots
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)

Specific complications

  • developing a collection of blood or fluid
  • injury to structures that come from your abdomen and are within the hernia
  • temporary weakness of your leg
  • injury to nerves
  • continued discomfort or pain in your groin

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Increase how much you walk around over the first few days.

You should be able to return to work after 2 to 4 weeks depending on how much surgery you need and your type of work.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The hernia can come back.

Summary

An inguinal hernia is a common condition caused by a weakness in your abdominal wall, near the inguinal canal. If left untreated, an inguinal hernia can cause serious complications.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Last reviewed: September 2018

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