What is a hernia? With Mr Partha Das, Consultant Colorectal, Laparoscopic and General Surgeon


Hernia repair is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the UK. Most hernias are not serious, but can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. 

In this recent article, featured in the Life magazine series across Hertfordshire and North London, Mr Partha Das, Consultant Colorectal, Laparoscopic and General Surgeon, explains what a hernia is and how it is treated.


Mr Partha Das, Consultant Colorectal, Laparoscopic and General SurgeonWhat is a hernia?

A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. The most common hernias occur in the groin, they are inguinal and femoral hernias. Other hernias can appear over the belly button, umbilical, or in other parts of the abdomen. Sometimes a hernia appears at a scar from a previous operation and these are called incisional hernias. There are other hernias that occurs within the body and are not visible from the outside, such as hiatus hernia. This is where the stomach goes through a natural hole in the diaphragm which separates the chest and the tummy.


What are the symptoms of a hernia and how is it diagnosed? 

Most hernias usually manifest as a lump or pain or both. The lump often gets larger after physical activities like lifting heavy objects. Sometimes the lump disappears on lying down. However, not all painful or painless lumps are hernias. It is best to see your doctor or specialist, who can make a thorough assessment and would be able to advise about further treatment, if necessary.


How is a hernia repaired?

A hernia repair will involve an operation and will need some form of anaesthetic. All hernia can be repaired both by open and keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery. Your specialist will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of both methods and will help you to decide. Many hernia surgeries will involve using a mesh which are usually made of special plastic (polypropylene). Most hernia procedures can be performed as a day surgery, and you are able to go home on the same day. More complex hernias may involve one or more nights in the hospital.


How long will it take to recover from hernia repair surgery?

After surgery you will be recovering at home. You will be able to do most activities for self-care and walking will be fine. Most surgeons would advise to avoid strenuous activities, including driving, for a period of two weeks. Depending on your job, you may need time off work during this time. More complex hernia surgery will need longer period to recover and greater restrictions in physical activities.


Does a hernia have to be repaired or can it be left if it’s not painful?

The risk of the hernia getting stuck (incarceration) and causing damage to internal organs (strangulation) remains even if the hernia is not painful. Ask your specialist before you choose to leave a hernia which is not causing symptoms.


You can read more about the different types of hernia and hernia repair surgery here.

Call 01707 443 333 to book a consultation with Mr Partha Das at One Hatfield Hospital. 


Mr Partha Das is a Consultant Colorectal, Laparoscopic and General Surgeon. His practice encompasses all aspects of bowel surgery and general surgery from minimally invasive keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery to complex open surgery. 


You can read more about Mr Partha Das here.


What is a hernia? Mr Partha Das