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 of the muscles can cause the lump to reappear.
What causes a femoral hernia?
A femoral hernia can occur when fatty tissue or part of an intestine, protrudes through into the groin area at the top of the inner thigh through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle wall of the abdomen and into the femoral canal.
Femoral hernias tend to occur more frequently in women due to the wider shape of the female pelvis. While more common in older women, femoral hernias are highly rare in children.
As stated earlier, the hernia can appear suddenly when the muscles of the abdomen are strained. Those who suffer from constipation can aggravate the hernia and cause it to appear suddenly. Femoral hernias have also been linked to obesity, those with heavy coughs and those who carry or push heavy loads.
Why is surgery needed?
The operation pushes the bulge back into place and helps to strengthen the abdominal wall. Femoral hernia repair is a necessary procedure, since this type of hernia, if untreated, has a high risk of intestinal strangulation, which is a potentially life-threatening condition where a section of the intestine can become stuck in the femoral canal and cut off from the 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 can be pushed back into the abdomen, or through laparoscopic surgery. This is a less invasive method where several small incisions are made to repair the hernia. In most cases, you should be able to return home the same day as your surgery.
What are the risks of having surgery?
Femoral hernia repair has very few risks, however 1% of femoral hernia cases reported a return of their hernia after the operation. Complications of femoral hernia repair are extremely rare, however they can include the development of a lump under the incision site, difficulty passing urine, narrowing of the femoral vein, injury of the bowel, weakness (temporarily) of the leg, and damage to nerves which can lead to pain or numbness in the groin area.