Femoral Hernia: Treatment & Recovery

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Severe femoral hernias may require surgical treatment. Read this lesson to learn more about the surgical options to consider for treating femoral hernias and the course of recovery for this injury.

What is a Femoral Hernia?

Jack, a young man working for his family's commercial moving company, frequently works long hours. He gets his exercise in during work hours and tends to enjoy his free time at the gym. He is strong, healthy, and active.

Due to his regular activities, Jack developed a femoral hernia that has slowly been growing in size. A femoral hernia, or a weakening of the femoral ligament allowing intestinal tissue to bulge out, is now visibly noticeable. Located in the bend where the leg meets the pelvis, the hernia is now a soft round bulge protruding from his skin.

What Causes a Femoral Hernia?

Femoral hernias are uncommon and occur as a result of straining. They may develop slowly over time or quickly during an injury. Some of the direct causes of femoral hernias include:

  • Deep coughing
  • Heavy lifting
  • Childbirth
  • Straining during constipation
  • Obesity

Treating the Femoral Hernia

Small hernias are typically benign, meaning that they are not bothersome and may not have symptoms. Small hernias are observed over time and do not require invasive treatments like surgery. However, a hernia may increase in size over time and can begin to interfere with normal activities.

Symptoms like pain and discomfort can increase along with the size of the hernia as the hernia may grow into the area of the hip joint. This may make it difficult to bend and move freely and prompt the health care team to consider surgical treatment.

The Procedure

The type of procedure used to repair the hernia is determined by the size of the injury.

Open Hernia Repair

An open femoral hernia repair may require an operation that begins with a large incision at the femoral canal. The femoral canal is the space in which critical blood vessels and nerves are held. Next, the surgeon will move the protruding tissue out of the canal back to its normal location and apply mesh and reinforcing material to the weakened areas of the canal. The surgery is completed and the incision is closed with either staples or sutures.

Laparoscopic Repair

For smaller hernias that are bothersome, a laparoscopic procedure with the use of small surgical probes and arms may be considered. This surgery does not require a large incision, but may require multiple small incisions to allow the surgical instruments in to complete the repair. Because laparoscopic incisions are small, surgical glue may be used in lieu of staples to reduce the appearance of scars. Aside from the types of surgical tools and size of incisions, the repair to the femoral canal is the same as an open femoral repair.

Recovery

Jack undergoes an open femoral hernia repair, and is waking up from his operation. During his surgery, he was under anesthesia to put him to sleep and prevent him from feeling any surgical pain during the procedure. His father is at the bedside to hear his instructions for returning home.

Caring for the Incision

Jack has a large incision that is kept together with staples. He is taught to cleanse the incision with mild soap and water and to pat dry only. He is also told to call the doctor if he notices any signs of infection:

  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Discharge

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