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Femoral Hernia

What is a femoral hernia?

A femoral hernia happens when a weakness in the muscle of the groin allows the intestine to bulge through. The first sign of a femoral hernia is usually an unexplained bulge in the groin area or the upper thigh area. It is usually something that develops over time, not something that a person is born with.

It can be difficult to determine if a hernia is a femoral hernia or an inguinal hernia. They are only differentiated by their location relative to the inguinal ligament. A hernia in the groin area that is above the inguinal ligament is an inguinal hernia; below the ligament it is a femoral hernia. It often takes a specialist to determine what type of hernia is present and it may only be identified once surgery begins.

A femoral hernia may be small enough that only the peritoneum, or the lining of the abdominal cavity, pushes through the muscle wall. In more severe cases, portions of the intestines may move through the hole in the muscle.

Femoral hernia repair

Femoral hernia repair is surgery to repair a hernia near the groin or upper thigh. A femoral hernia is tissue that bulges out of a weak spot in the groin. Usually this tissue is part of the intestine.

In surgery to repair the hernia, the tissue is pushed back in, and the weakened area is sewn closed or strengthened. This repair can be done with open or laparoscopic surgery.


You will probably receive general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for this surgery. If your hernia is small, you may receive local anesthesia and medicine to relax you. You will be awake but pain-free.

  • A laparoscope is a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end that allows your surgeon to see inside your body.
  • Your surgeon will make 3 or 4 small cuts and insert the laparoscope and other small instruments through them.
  • The same repair will be done as in open surgery. The benefits of this surgery are a faster healing time, less pain, and less scarring.

Why the Procedure is Performed

All femoral hernias need to be repaired, even if they do not cause any symptoms. If the hernia is not repaired, the intestine can get trapped in the hernia (called an "incarcerated" or "strangulated" hernia).

When a hernia gets incarcerated or strangulated, blood supply to the intestines can be cut off. This can be life threatening. If this happens, you would need emergency surgery.


Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse if:

  • You are or could be pregnant
  • You are taking any drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription

During the week before your surgery:

  • Several days to a week before the procedure, you may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and other drugs like these.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.

On the day of your surgery:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After the Procedure

Most people can go home on the same day as the surgery, but some may need to stay in the hospital overnight. If your surgery was done as an emergency, you may need to stay in the hospital a few days longer.

After surgery, you may have some swelling, bruising, or soreness around your surgical cut. Taking pain medicines and moving carefully can help.

  • You can return to light activities soon after this procedure, but you will have to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a few weeks.
  • Avoid all activities that can increase pressure in the groin area. Move slowly from a lying to a seated position and avoid forceful sneezing, excess coughing, and constipation.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome of this surgery is usually very good. The femoral hernia returns in less than 3 out of 100 patients who have this surgery.


02 92213919


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Dr Clement Tsang
Consultant Surgeon

Waratah Private Hospital clinic
Level 2, 31 Dora st Hurstville 2220

Keyhole surgery Centre

 Level 8, 187 Macquarie st, sydney
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Campbelltown Private Hospital Clinic
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