Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Most Common Hernias


A hernia occurs when a piece of tissue bulges through an area of the body — usually a weak point in a person’s abdominal wall. The following are some of the most common hernia types that occur in the body.

Inguinal hernias are hernias that occur in the groins involving the inguinal canal.  They are the most common hernia type seen in the United States, the majority of which occur in males (10 to 1 male to female ratio). They can be unilateral (on one side) or bilateral (on both sides). 

Umbilical hernias occur within the umbilicus (i.e. bellybutton). They are considered a subtype of ventral hernia and compose the majority of all ventral hernias. They are most often noticeable as a bulge within or through the belly button.   
The term ventral hernia is a general term used to describe any hernia that occurs through the anterior abdominal wall. They include umbilical, epigastric, incisional and spigelian hernias.

An epigastric hernia is a ventral hernia that occurs in the midline above the umbilicus (i.e. bellybutton). They most often appear as a bulge between the bellybutton and the sternum (i.e. breast bone). They are often associated with minimal to no symptoms.
Femoral hernias are a variant of hernias that occur through the femoral canal, which is in close approximation to the inguinal canal. They can often be confused with inguinal hernias and are relatively rare, encompassing 2-4% of all groin hernias. They are typically found in female and have a one in four change of becoming incarcerated.

An incisional hernia is a hernia that occurs through a previous incision for abdominal pr pelvic surgery.  

A recurrent hernia is any hernia that returns after having been previously repaired.   
Spigelian hernias are a significantly rare ventral hernia that along the outside of the rectus muscle below the level of the umbilicus. They are difficult to diagnose and often are found incidentally during imaging for a separate indication. Sometimes they can present with no warning signs as an acute incarceration or strangulation (see below).   

Rectus diastasis is an abnormal separation of the rectus muscles from the midline. It is not a true hernia in the sense that there is no defect within the abdominal wall and no risk for incarceration or strangulation. The physical findings are often similar to a ventral hernia and include a bulge in the anterior abdominal wall that can be confused with a true ventral hernia. Rectus Diastasis is often seen in women following pregnancy or in men with higher than normal visceral fat. Symptoms can include abnormal bulging and discomfort with activity. Rectus diastasis can be repaired. An in depth discussion regarding your individual options will take place on the day of your in person evaluation.