The abdominal wall is a sheet of muscle and tendon extending from the ribs to the groin. It holds a...
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The abdominal wall is a sheet of muscle and tendon extending from the ribs to the groin. It holds and protects the contents of the abdomen. A hernia is an area of weakness in the wall that allows fat or organs to push through, causing a bulge. Hernias often occur in the groin. Groin hernias are either inguinal, meaning they occur above the inguinal ligament, or femoral, occurring below this ligament. Some inguinal hernias occur when the inguinal canal - the pathway for the testicles to descend from the abdomen in a male fetus--fails to close. These are called indirect inguinal hernias. Others - called direct inguinal hernias--result from stress on or degeneration of abdominal muscle as a person ages. Inguinal hernias are more common in men but may also develop in women. Femoral hernias, which occur in the upper part of the thigh, are more common in women. A ventral hernia, also called an incisional hernia, occurs when scar tissue, following abdominal surgery weakens the abdominal wall. Potential complications of hernias include an organ pushing through and become trapped in the hole. Digested food may become blocked. In the worst case, arteries may be pinched, cutting off the blood supply, and killing living tissue in the bowel or other organs.

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