Hernia can be classified in several different ways but the most common categories are described below:
- Inguinal hernia – This is the most common form of hernia and makes up 75% of all abdominal hernias. Inguinal hernia occur when bowel tissue or fatty tissue protrudes into the groin area at the top of the thigh. Inguinal hernias can be further divided into indirect inguinal hernia and direct inguinal hernia. An indirect inguinal hernia occurs when the inguinal canal is protruded due to a weakness at the entrance. A direct inguinal hernia occurs when the protruding contents push through a site of weakness in the posterior wall of the inguinal canal. Inguinal hernias are more common in males than in females.
- Pantaloon hernia, otherwise known as a saddlebag hernia, is a combination of a direct and indirect hernia. The hernial sac pushes through both sides of the inferior epigastric vessels.
- Femoral hernias – These occur below the inguinal ligament, when hernial contents protrude through a weak site in the back wall of the femoral canal. These can be difficult to distinguish from inguinal hernias, but tend to be more rounded and more common among females than men. This form of hernia is associated with a high risk of strangulation and surgical repair is required.
- Cooper’s hernia is a femoral hernia made up of two sacs, one in the femoral canal and the other passing through a hole in the superficial fascia, and emerging just underneath the skin.
- Umbilical hernia or belly button hernia – Here, intra-abdominal tissue pokes through the abdomen near the naval area. These hernia are more common among pregnant women and obese people.
- Epigastric hernia occurs above the umbilicus or belly button and protrudes through the linea alba.
- Paraumbilical hernia is a protrusion that occurs through a hole in the muscles or ligaments near to the navel.
- Incisional hernia occur as a result of a surgical wound failing to completely heal.
- Diaphragmatic hernias occur when part of the stomach pushes through in the chest area by squeezing through a weak point in the diaphragm. A hiatus hernia is a type of diaphragmatic hernia.
- Littre’s hernia involves the Meckel’s diverticulum as the hernia content.
- Lumbar hernia is a hernia in the lumbar region.
- Obturator hernia protrudes through the obturator canal.
- Perineal hernia occurs in the muscles of the perineal floor.
- Properitoneal hernia occurs above the peritoneum.
- Spigelian hernia is also referred to as spontaneous lateral ventral hernia.
- Sports hernia refers to a hernia that causes long-term groin pain in athletes due to a widened superficial inguinal ring.
- Amyand’s hernia contains the appendix vermiformis inside the hernia sac
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2014