What is a Spigelian Hernia?

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A spigelian hernia can be painful, awkward and uncomfortable, just like many other hernias that patients can get.

The spigelian variety however can result in a number of serious complications, and as such, quick treatment is highly recommended to ensure you can return to a more comfortable and less painful daily life as quickly as possible.

So what is a spigelian hernia and what causes one? In this blog, we’ll answer those key questions and we’ll also look at what kind of treatments are available to someone suffering from a spigelian hernia and how you can aid recovery post-treatment.

A hernia is a part of the body, such as an organ, pushes through either a weakness or a hole in the muscles or in tissue walls.

A spigelian hernia is a particular kind of hernia that affects the spigelian muscle tissue - called spigelian aponeurosis - that goes between two layers of abdominal muscle – the linea semilunaris and the rectus muscle.

Generally these hernias are more likely to happen to men over 50, pregnant women and overweight people.


What causes spigelian hernias?

Spigelian hernias happen because the muscles in a patient’s abdominal wall are weakened. The weak abdominal walls allow parts of organs or tissue to push through the wall, causing pain and discomfort.

The weakness in the abdominal wall can be caused by a variety of things. Having a regular and chronic cough because of an illness is one possible cause, as is any manual labour that can damage parts of the abdominal area.

Can you exercise with a spigelian hernia? Yes, you can – however you should avoid any heavy lifting (At the gym for example) or performing movements that strain the abdominal muscles. If in doubt, consult a healthcare professional.


What are the symptoms?

For some patients, spigelian hernias won’t show any symptoms at all. Others will experience mild symptoms, and others yet will experience significant discomfort on a consistent basis.

Abdominal pain can be a sign of any hernia – this pain can be felt across the abdominal region, and can be quite significant in some cases. The pain will also be more apparent when straining to lift something, or performing exercise, or during bowel movements.

Another most obvious sign of a spigelian hernia is a small lump beneath or to the left and right of the belly button which can indicate the location of the weakened abdominal wall.

The only way to know for certain if you have a spigelian hernia, or any hernia at all, is to book an appointment with a healthcare professional who will run a series of checks to ascertain the problem. These checks will generally start with a physical examination, before moving on to an X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan, depending on the size and location of the hernia.


What treatment is there for a spigelian hernia?

Sometimes, if a spigelian hernia isn’t too painful or severe, then your doctor may recommend that you simply let the problem resolve on its own. However, if the hernia is causing serious discomfort and pain, or if you fall into a risk category for hernias, or if the hernia is simply too large, then you’ll need to have hernia repair surgery. In hernia repair surgery, the surgeon will carry out something called open mesh repair. This is where the surgeon makes a cut near the hernia, and adjusts the tissues and organs around the weakened area. They’ll then carefully repair the hole in spigelian tissue There are some small risks that can come into play with spigelian hernia surgery – these include things like infection or under-skin bleeding. if you have any concerns, it’s a good idea to discuss these with your doctor, who will be able to give you all of the relevant information.

Recovering from spigelian hernia surgery

Once the surgery is complete, you can expect some pain or discomfort in your abdomen. This will recede over time. If this pain is severe, you may be treated with pain relief treatments, such as tablets for example to help.

After about five days, the incision wound should be repaired and after this time, you’ll be able to take off any bandages or dressing that has been applied. Try to avoid putting any pressure or strain on the cut for around 4 weeks to avoid it reopening or further damage – you should, however, start to exercise lightly and carry out gentle activities to further the healing process. Do not drive for a week after the operation.

Failing to follow these measures might cause the hernia to reappear, requiring another round of surgery to correct.

Your doctor will run you through all of this during your surgery, but it’s all important to keep in mind. They will also give you a list of symptoms – if any of these occur in the post-surgery timeframe, seek medical attention as soon as you can.

To learn more about the different kinds of hernia, and the surgery available to you through a healthcare institution like Ramsay Healthcare, visit our website here.

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