Diagnosing Hernias

Your family doctor or specialist will be able to perform a simple examination to confirm a hernia. Sometimes an ultrasound scan is necessary. Up to a quarter of patients with inguinal hernias will go on to develop hernias on the other side.

Different types of hernia

Inguinal hernias occur in the groin and are divided into two groups:

Indirect inguinal hernia: Your family doctor or specialist will be able to perform a simple examination to confirm a hernia. Sometimes an ultrasound scan is necessary. Up to a quarter of patients with inguinal hernias will go on to develop hernias on the other side.
Direct inguinal hernia: These hernias make up about one-third of inguinal hernias and are always acquired over time. Risk factors for direct hernias include smoking and chronic cough as well as occupations where there is much heavy lifting.

Other types of hernia:

Femoral hernia: These are more rare and prone to complication.Typically they are found in middle aged and older women. The lump is lower than that seen in an inguinal hernia and an experienceddoctor can normally discriminate. They require repair.
Ventral hernia - (in the front wall of the abdomen (tummy)) Umbilical hernias, paraumbilical hernias and epigastric hernias are all hernias in the midline of the abdomen occurring between the bottom of the chest bone and the umbilicus (belly button). Their name describes their position.
Epigastric hernia - These are usually small defects in the linea alba (the midline of the muscular wall of the abdomen). They probably occur asa result of a weakness in the muscle fibres in this area. Normally they are too small to allow the bowel to enter and only contain fatty tissue.
Umbilical hernia - These usually occur in children through a weak umbilicus (belly button). In children under two, they are usually managed expectantly. After the age of two, surgery is usually offered.
Paraumbilical hernia - In adults the hernia does not occur through the umbilical scar but rather through a small defect just above or below the umbilicus (belly button). These can become very large; however, the neck of the hernia may often remain small. They occur far more frequently in women for a number of reasons.
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Address
Wakefield Specialist Medical Centre
99 Rintoul Street
Newtown
Wellington, 6021
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(04) 381 8120 extn 7331
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