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What is a spigelian hernia?

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A spigelian hernia is an abdominal hernia that grows through the spigelian fascia and is located between muscle tissue rather than underneath fat, where most hernias develop, explains Virginia Hospital Center. Due to the area of the abdomen where spigelian hernias develop, they are unlikely to produce visible swelling.

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Because spigelian hernias are less likely than other types of hernias to produce outward signs of swelling, it can take longer for doctors to detect them in patients, notes Virginia Hospital Center. However, a protrusion may be outwardly detectable in patients who do not have much abdominal fat. When the protrusion is detectable, it usually feels soft. A common sign of this type of hernia is recurrent pain in the area that later transitions into a constant, dull ache. Another sign is a sudden decrease in bowel activity that lasts for several days.

The occurrence of spigelian hernias is about equal in men and women, according to Virginia Hospital Center. They are more common among older patients and do not typically occur in patients younger than 40 years old. The hernias may result from a weakened abdominal wall or injury. Treatment typically involves surgery to repair the tissue damage in the area. In some cases, the surgeon places a mesh material on the abdominal wall to provide strength, thereby lessening the chances of the hernia returning.

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