A femoral hernia is characterized by the externalization of parts of organs (usually, part of the digestive tract) through a weak area of the abdominal wall. It will be made visible by the formation of a mass that can be seen.
It is located more particularly below the line between the bottom of the torso and the pubis, which differentiates it from an inguinal hernia, which is located above this limit.
Apart from the difference in location, a femoral hernia has the same symptoms as an inguinal hernia.
The symptoms are:
- the presence of an abdominal mass that can be reintroduced into the organ sac wall (in the absence of complications);
- no feeling of pain;
- further externalization of the organ during coughing, exertion or the transition to standing position;
- possible discomfort.
The hernia may have complications and become entangled (where it is impossible to move it back into the cavity). The pain becomes intense, the hernia becoming larger and very sensitive. It can cause an intestinal obstruction of gas and waste.
Note that femoral hernias often become entangled and are easily identifiable at this stage.
The diagnosis is made after a clinical examination. The doctor will find a mass upon palpation, localized next to the inguinal ligament. Aspects that are painful, hard, rearrangeable or not, or felt when coughing will be tested depending on the presence or absence of complications.
The only curative treatment is surgical and is performed quickly to anticipate an entanglement. The technique used for femoral hernia is historically the Mac Vay technique of using a part of a ligament, but the use of prosthesis is increasingly common. Antibiotics are sometimes associated with surgical treatment as a precaution.