the abnormal protrusion of part of an organ or tissue through the structures normally containing it. adj., adj
her´nial. A weak spot or other abnormal opening in a body wall permits part of the organ to bulge through. A hernia may develop in various parts of the body, most commonly in the region of the abdomen (abdominal hernia),
and may be either acquired or congenital. An old popular term for hernia is rupture,
but this term is misleading because it suggests tearing and nothing is torn in a hernia. Although various supports and trusses can be tried in an effort to contain the hernia, the best treatment for this condition is herniorrhaphy
, surgical repair of the weakness in the muscle wall through which the hernia protrudes.
congenital posterolateral diaphragmatic hernia
, with extrusion of bowel and other abdominal viscera into the thorax; due to failure of closure of the pleuroperitoneal hiatus.
cerebral hernia (hernia ce´rebri) protrusion of brain substance through a defect in the skull.
fat hernia hernial protrusion of peritoneal fat through the abdominal wall.
protrusion of a loop of intestine into the femoral canal, a tubular passageway that carries nerves and blood vessels to the thigh; this type occurs more often in women than in men. Called also crural hernia
) protrusion of a structure, often a portion of the stomach, through the esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm; see diaphragmatic hernia
an inguinal hernia
that has turned outward into the groin.
a hernia so occluded that it cannot be returned by manipulation; it may or may not become strangulated. Called also irreducible hernia
incisional hernia hernia after operation at the site of the surgical incision, owing to improper healing or to excessive strain on the healing tissue; such strain may be caused by excessive muscular effort, such as that involved in lifting or severe coughing, or by obesity, which creates additional pressure on the weakened area.
hernia occurring in the groin, or inguen, where the abdominal folds of flesh meet the thighs. It is often the result of increased pressure within the abdomen, whether due to lifting, coughing, straining, or accident. Inguinal hernia accounts for about 75 per cent of all hernias.
A sac formed from the peritoneum and containing a portion of the intestine or omentum, or both, pushes either directly outward through the weakest point in the abdominal wall (direct hernia) or downward at an angle into the inguinal canal (indirect hernia). Indirect inguinal hernia
(the common form) occurs more often in males because it follows the tract that develops when the testes descend into the scrotum before birth, and the hernia itself may descend into the scrotum. In the female, the hernia follows the course of the round ligament of the uterus.
Inguinal hernia begins usually as a small breakthrough. It may be hardly noticeable, appearing as a soft lump under the skin, no larger than a marble, and there may be little pain. As time passes, the pressure of the contents of the abdomen against the weak abdominal wall may increase the size of the opening and, accordingly, the size of the lump formed by the hernia. In the early stages, an inguinal hernia is usually reducible—it can be pushed gently back into its normal place. Inguinal hernia usually requires herniorrhaphy
intra-abdominal hernia (intraperitoneal hernia) a congenital anomaly of intestinal positioning, occurring within the abdomen, in which a portion of bowel protrudes through a defect in the peritoneum or, as a result of abnormal rotation of the intestine during embryonic development, becomes trapped in a sac of peritoneum.
an intra-abdominal hernia
in which the small intestine rotates incompletely during development and becomes trapped within the mesentery of the colon.
congenital retrosternal diaphragmatic hernia
, with extrusion of tissue into the thorax through the foramen of Morgagni.
paraesophageal hernia hiatal hernia
in which part or almost all of the stomach protrudes through the hiatus into the thorax to the left of the esophagus, with the gastroesophageal junction remaining in place.
Paraesophageal hernia. From Dorland's, 2000.
posterior vaginal hernia
downward protrusion of the pouch of Douglas, with its intestinal contents, between the posterior vaginal wall and the rectum; called also enterocele
. See illustration.
Posterior vaginal hernia. From McKinney et al., 2000.
reducible hernia one that can be returned by manipulation.
sliding hernia hernia of the cecum (on the right) or the sigmoid colon (on the left) in which the wall of the viscus forms a portion of the hernial sac, the remainder of the sac being formed by the parietal peritoneum.
sliding hiatal hernia
the most common type of diaphragmatic hernia
; a hiatal hernia
in which the upper stomach and the cardioesophageal junction protrude upward into the posterior mediastinum. The protrusion, which may be fixed or intermittent, is partially covered by a peritoneal sac.
Sliding hiatal hernia. From Dorland's, 2000.
strangulated hernia one that is tightly constricted. As any hernia progresses and bulges out through the weak point in its containing wall, the opening in the wall tends to close behind it, forming a narrow neck. If the neck becomes pinched tight enough to cut off the blood supply, the hernia will quickly swell and become strangulated. This is a very dangerous condition that can appear suddenly and requires immediate surgical attention. Unless the blood supply is restored promptly, gangrene can set in and may cause death. If a hernia suddenly grows larger, becomes tense, and will not go back into place, and there is pain and nausea, it is strangulated. Occasionally, especially in the elderly, hernia strangulation may occur without pain or tenderness.
hernia into the vagina; called also colpocele