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What is an abdominal wall hernia?

An abdominal wall hernia is a defect, or abnormal opening, in the muscle or connective tissue layers that make up the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is what keeps your internal organs inside and protected from the outside world. The abdominal wall extends from the bottom of the breastbone (sternum), down to the pubic bone, and outwards on both sides around to your back. When an abnormal opening, or gap, develops in the abdominal wall it is called a hernia. Intra-abdominal structures can then become entrapped in the opening, leading to pain and even life-threatening situations requiring emergency surgery. Inguinal (groin), Umbilical (belly button), Femoral, Ventral, and Incisional hernias are all subtypes of abdominal wall hernias.


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