ABDOMINAL HERNIA (LOWER GI SYSTEM)
a. Definition. A hernia in which an abdominal structure or organ bulges through
the abdominal wall is termed an abdominal hernia. Three types of this hernia are the
femoral hernia, umbilical hernia, and ventral or incisional hernia.
(1) Femoral hernia. More common in women than in men, this hernia
occurs in the upper thigh, just below the groin. A loop of bowel breaks through the
femoral ring and can be held fast (an incarcerated hernia) or the bowel loop can swell
causing its blood supply to be cut off (a strangulated hernia). The strangulated hernia
requires immediate surgery.
Figure 3-5. Femoral hernia.
(2) Umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia results from the failure of the
umbilical orifice (the navel) to close. A part of the intestine pokes through the umbilical
ring (the navel). Such hernias are most common in obese women and in children. This
type of hernia occurs in adults but is more common in children. The umbilical hernia
also is prevalent in patients with cirrhosis of the liver and ascites (accumulation of free
serous fluid in the abdominal cavity in amounts which can be detected).
(3) Incisional (ventral) hernia. This hernia also occurs because of a
weakness in the abdominal wall, but the weakness is in the scar from a recent incision.
The surgical incision may have been infected leaving the area along the incision
weakened and an ideal place for an organ to poke out.