Groin hernia repair may be an inguinal hernia repair or femoral hernia repair. Groin hernia repair can be performed open or laparoscopically, depending on the size of your hernia and other factors. The laparoscopic approach generally offers a faster recovery and return to work. Both approaches can usually be done as a day case. Pain is minimal due to the use of local anaesthetic and nerve blocks. A mesh (medical grade plastic sheet) is usually placed in the tissue layers over the hernia repair to decrease the risk of the hernia coming back.
The decision to recommend surgical repair of groin hernias comes down to assessment of the risk of complication (strangulation of fat or bowel in the hernia) and your symptoms. All femoral hernias are at a high risk of complication/strangulation and should therefore generally be repaired. Inguinal hernias, depending on the subtype, are at a lower risk of such complication and can therefore often be left alone, if asymptomatic and not interfering with your daily activities.
Groin hernia repair has all the usual small risks of surgery (anaesthetic, bleeding, infection) but also some unique risks. Nerves in the area can be drawn into the scar tissue caused by the mesh. This can cause chronic niggling discomfort or numbness in the area. For 1% of patients, this can be severe enough to require further investigation and treatment. 5 – 7% of patients will notice an occasional mild twinge or numbness. All hernia repairs have a risk of hernia recurrence long term. Depending on various patient factors, this is between 2 and 5%.