Hernia surgery involves repair of an abdominal wall muscle defect, or hole, through which tissues inside the abdomen may protrude. Hernias may occur because of a congenital weakness in this area or because of an induced injury to the abdominal wall musculature (i.e. lifting, straining, or previous surgical incision). They are most commonly seen in the groin and abdomen, presenting as a noticeable lump with associated discomfort. Less commonly, internal hernias can occur when congenital scar tissue or postoperative scar tissue leads to entrapment of internal organs or intestines.
The majority of hernia surgery is performed on an elective outpatient basis, allowing for rapid recovery and return to work. Occasionally hernia surgery can become urgent and life threatening if tissue trapped in the hernia becomes strangulated and gangrenous (dead). In these cases, surgical treatment is carried out on an emergent basis.