Mr Ewen Griffiths performs both keyhole and laparoscopic groin hernia operations.
He is a specialist hernia surgeon and a member of the British Hernia Society.
What is a groin hernia?
A groin hernia usually occurs when a weakness in the abdominal wall allows fatty tissue or a part of the bowel to protrude into the inguinal canal. It can cause pain and lead to severe complications if untreated. Surgery is the only cure. It typically occurs in men, but can affect women too.
Can I get my hernia fixed on the NHS?
Yes you can. However, the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Hernia Society have found that 57% of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are denying patients quick access to the procedure and restricting surgery to patients with severe pain or incarceration of the hernia.
What does incarceration mean?
A hernia is a defect (hole) in the abdominal muscles through which the abdominal contents (usually fat but sometimes intestines or other abdominal structures) can protrude. When you lie down the protruding bit usually drops back through the hole meaning there’s often nothing to see or feel… Unless the hernia is stuck in the hole in the muscles. If the hernia does not go back when you lie down this is called irreducible or sometimes incarcerated.
What happens if a hernia is left alone or not fixed?
For most patients the hernia will get bigger and more difficult to fix. In others it will stay the same. Some patients avoid surgery, but most need surgery at some point in the future. A rare scenario is that the bowel in the hernia could get trapped or strangulated (lose its blood supply).
This is an emergency and needs surgery with hours to stop the bowel needed to be removed. If the bowel dies within a hernia this can be a life threatening event. Fortunately this is rare, but it is definitely best avoided.
What are the benefits of private hernia assessment and surgical repair?
There are several advantages including prompt clinic appointments i.e. no waiting months for a routine NHS clinic appointment. Mr Griffiths is an expert at assessing patients with hernias and talking through the pros and cons of each treatment approach. He performs both open and keyhole repair methods. Therefore can offer a balanced approach depending on the size, location of the hernia and the patient’s preference.
What about Mesh for hernia repairs?
There has recently been a lot of controversy in the press regarding the use of Mesh in hernia repairs and other surgical procedures. However, to some extent this has been confused by the risks in other surgical procedures (such as transvaginal tape procedures for incontinence) which have little to do with hernia surgery. Some surgical experts appearing in the news advocating tissue repairs appear to be promoting their own private practice without long term data on tissue repair or non-mesh techniques.
Mr Griffiths is a member of the British Hernia Society and fully supports their stance on the subject… Which is to assess and counsel patients thoroughly before surgery and discuss the issues in person.
Mr Griffiths does offer suture repair for very tiny umbilical hernias and some rare scenarios. However for the majority of patients Mesh repair is the safest and most reliable way to repair a hernia. Millions of hernia repairs have been successfully performed with mesh. Alternatives are available and can be discussed with you to help you make an informed decision.
Please see this article for further details http://www.britishherniasociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/BHS-mesh-safety-leaflet-for-patients-2018.pdf
British Hernia Society patient information sheet on groin hernia surgery
This is a comprehensive patient information sheet on groin hernias (these are inguinal and femoral hernias). It is produced by the ‘British Hernia Society’ and contains information regarding:
- What a hernia is
- Surgical options (keyhole and open surgery information)
- Risks of the procedures
British Hernia Society Patient Information
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]
Groin hernias can be repaired in different ways:
By using traditional open surgery or ‘keyhole’ / minimal invasive surgery. Their are pros and cons of each operation. Please see the videos below which detail information on both these repair methods: