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 When a sac or part of the bowel bulges through a weak part of the abdominal wall. It may result from physical straining or coughing.

In advanced cases the swelling may appear to be arising from the scrotum. Hernias may become complicated by becoming impossible to return to their normal site.

The best treatment, especially if painful, is surgical repair. A mesh repair technique is used. If there are bilateral hernias (on both sides) a laparoscopic approach will usually be recommended.

 The operation is done under either local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia depending on the patientís preference. While local anaesthesia avoids the very small risk of a general anaesthetic and ensures very good post operative pain control, it is mildly uncomfortable having the anaesthetic put in. Most patients equate this discomfort with that of a dental procedure.

A small cut is made in the skin over the hernia and the inguinal region is exposed. It may then be necessary to return the hernia to the abdomen if it has not dropped back spontaneously. Following this a piece of plastic mesh is placed over the area of weakness and sewn loosely into place without tension on the tissues. The muscle and skin are then closed over and the operation is finished.

Recovery from hernia repair

If the hernia is done under local anaesthetic you will be able to go home the same day and should have minimal pain for the first 4-24 hous depending on the speed at which your body breaks down the anaesthetic drugs. After a general anaesthetic you may stay in hospital for a night. Reasonably strong painkillers are given for the first few days after which simple analgesia such as paracetamol combinations are usually sufficient. You may experience scrotal swelling for a few days after surgery. This should reduce gradually and a scrotal support may help.

You should resume quiet, normal activity as tolerated over the first 48-72 hours. Work will depend on what you do and how you get there. The physical act of driving is not a problem but 3 weeks off is usually advised simply because doing an emergency stop will cause pain in the operation site which could cause you to take your foot off the brake and crash.

You may resume gentle exercise (swimming, jogging) after three weeks as you feel able, but try to avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks.


You may resume your normal diet after your surgery. However, ensure this is high in fibre (cereals, vegetables and fruit) to prevent constipation and unnecessary straining.


The advice in this web site is made freely available for general use. The facts and opinions stated cannot however be taken as valid or safe for any individual patient unless specifically instructed by Mr Muir.

Copyright (c) 1999-2001 GH Muir. All rights reserved.