What are characteristics of different types of abdominal hernias?

Updated: Jul 01, 2021
  • Author: Assar A Rather, MBBS, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Characteristics of various hernia types include the following:

  • Inguinal hernia - Bulge in the inguinal region or scrotum, sometimes intermittent; may be accompanied by a dull ache or burning pain, which often worsens with exercise or straining (eg, coughing)
  • Spigelian hernia - Local pain and signs of obstruction from incarceration; pain increases with contraction of the abdominal musculature
  • Interparietal hernia - Similar to spigelian hernia; occurs most frequently in previous incisions
  • Internal supravesical hernias - Symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction or symptoms resembling a urinary tract infection
  • Lumbar hernia - Vague flank discomfort combined with an enlarging mass in the flank; progressive protrusion through lumbar triangles, more commonly through the superior (Grynfeltt-Lesshaft) triangle than through the inferior (Petit); not prone to incarceration
  • Obturator hernia - Intermittent, acute, and severe hyperesthesia or pain in the medial thigh or in the region of the greater trochanter, usually relieved by thigh flexion and worsened by medial rotation, adduction, or extension at the hip
  • Sciatic hernia - Tender mass in the gluteal area that is increasing in size; sciatic neuropathy and symptoms of intestinal or ureteral obstruction can also occur
  • Perineal hernias - Perineal mass with discomfort on sitting and occasionally obstructive symptoms with incarceration
  • Umbilical hernia - Central, midabdominal bulge
  • Epigastric hernia - Small lumps along the linea alba reflecting openings through which preperitoneal fat can protrude; may be adjacent to the umbilicus (umbilical hernia) or more cephalad (ventral hernia [epiplocele])

See Presentation for more detail.

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