A femoral hernia can appear as a grape sized lump in the inner or upper part of the thigh or groin. This lump is usually painful and may even disappear when you lie down, however straining or bearing down can cause the lump to reappear.
What causes a femoral hernia?
A femoral hernia occurs when tissue or intestine protrudes through a weak area of the femoral canal at the top of the inner thigh.
Femoral hernias tend to occur more frequently in women due to the wider shape of the female pelvis. They are more common in older women and rare in children. Hernias of all types are more common in smokers.
A femoral hernia can appear suddenly when the muscles of the abdomen are strained. Patients who suffer from constipation are at higher risk for all types of hernias. Femoral hernias have also been linked to obesity, those with chronic cough and those who regularly carry or push heavy loads.
Why is surgery needed?
Femoral hernia repair is a necessary procedure, since this type of hernia, if untreated, has a high risk of intestinal strangulation—a potentially life-threatening condition where a section of the intestine becomes stuck in the femoral canal and cut off from its blood supply, which causes the tissue to die. Femoral hernia surgery will rid you of your hernia and prevent these complications from happening.
How is the surgery performed?
Femoral hernia repair can be performed one of two ways. It can be done through open surgery where one large cut is made in which the lump is pushed back into the abdomen, or the repair can be done with small-incision surgery (laparoscopy). The latter is a less invasive method where small incisions are utilized to repair the hernia. In most cases, patients are able to return home the same day after surgery.
What are the risks of having surgery?
Femoral hernia repair has very few risks with a recurrence rate generally less than 1%. Complications of femoral hernia repair are extremely rare, however they can include difficulty passing urine, narrowing of the femoral vein, injury to the bowel, weakness (temporarily) of the leg, and damage to nerves which can lead to pain or numbness in the groin area.