Background

A hernia is an abnormal protrusion of a viscus or the peritoneum through a natural or aquired defect in the muscular wall of a cavity. The natural history of all hernias is progressive enlargement with possible incarceration and strangulation. Hernia repair is the most common surgical procedure with approximately 700,000 repairs done annually. Inguinal hernias account for 75% of all hernias. Two-thirds of these are indirect and one-third are direct. Ventral hernias comprise approximately 10% of hernias. Femoral hernias comprise only 3% of hernias and are much more common in women. Other hernia types include: umbilical hernias, epigastric hernia (defect in the linea alba), Richter's hernia (herniation of the antimesenteric border of a hollow viscus), Littre's hernia (sac occupied only by a Meckel's diverticulum), Spigelian hernia (defect in the linea semilunaris), obturator hernia, lumbar hernias, and other rare hernias.3

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