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What Is It?

A hernia repair is the surgical procedure to fix a hernia. This procedure is also known as herniorrhaphy.

A hernia occurs when part of an internal organ or body part protrudes into an area where it should not. The most common hernias occur in the abdominal area. A small portion of the intestine, or a piece of fat, pokes through a weak area in the muscular wall of the abdomen. This causes an abnormal bulge under the skin of the abdomen, usually near the groin or navel.

There are two kinds of hernia repair:

  • Traditional (open) hernia repair – The surgeon cuts open the skin. He or she fixes the hernia through an opening that is several inches long.

  • Laparoscopic hernia repair – In this less-invasive procedure, the surgeon makes several small holes in the skin. He or she inserts a laparoscope and long-handled surgical instruments through these small holes. (A laparoscope is a telescope-like instrument with a camera on the end.)

For most people, a hernia repair does not require overnight hospitalization.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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