If you suspect you have a hernia, or if you have an abdominal swelling, please see a doctor. Diagnosis is usually made by physical examination of the abdomen. For less obvious swelling, an ultrasound or a CT scan may help confirm the diagnosis. X-rays or a CT scan may also be performed to look for acute complications such as bowel obstruction or bowel strangulation. You may be advised surgery to prevent or treat the complications.
Surgery involves returning the abdominal contents to the abdominal cavity and reinforcing the weakened area of the abdominal wall. This is usually done with either suture repair and/or with a piece of mesh placed either under or over the weakened area. The mesh causes the body to form strong scar tissue in the region it is placed, hence strengthening the abdominal wall in that region.
The hernia repair surgery may be performed via an open approach by creating an incision over the length of the abdominal hernia, or via a laparoscopic (keyhole) approach where a camera and instruments are inserted through 5-10mm incisions into the abdominal cavity. Procedural time may vary depending on the size and complexity of your hernia. The details of hernia surgery will be discussed with you when you consult a surgeon.