Similar in location to inguinal hernias but arising a bit lower in the groin, these types of hernia are more common in women and account for less than 5% of all hernias. This type of hernia occurs through the femoral ring, a natural opening in the groin that allows the femoral artery and vein to pass through this opening to supply blood to the leg. When this opening weakens, the intestines can get caught in the ring and result in a bulge.
Femoral hernias are typically diagnosed by a bulge in the groin crease or upper thigh. In women, the diagnosis can be difficult to differentiate from a low lying inguinal hernia. A clinical examination by a hernia expert is highly accurate in diagnosing this condition. In some instances, imaging with CT scan or MRI may be helpful in the equivocal case. What makes femoral hernias more dangerous than other types of hernias is the propensity for the hernia tissue to get stuck in the femoral ring, referred to as an incarceration of the hernia. Unfortunately, if the intestines incarcerate, it can lead to strangulation of the blood supply which becomes a surgical emergency.
Surgical treatment is indicated for a femoral hernia once the diagnosis is made. Waiting for this type of hernia to become symptomatic invites the likelihood of a strangulation to develop. The approach to repairing these hernias is focused on reducing the hernia tissue back into the abdominal cavity and tightening the femoral ring to prevent a recurrence.
Dr. Grischkan has repaired hundreds of these types of hernias.
If you have findings suggestive of femoral hernia, contact the experts at the Hernia Center of Ohio.