Hernia repair surgery – a guide to self-pay hernia surgery

Choose the right path for your individual needs.

At Practice Plus Group we offer fast access to high-quality hernia repair surgery and treatment via self-pay, insured and NHS routes.

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Hernia repair is available at the following locations

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What is a hernia?

Hernias happen when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in surrounding muscle wall or tissue.

Hernias can happen anywhere in your body, but they can be found most commonly between your chest and hips. A hernia forms a lump which you should be able to push back in and which disappears when you lie down. The lump may appear if you cough or strain.

There are four main types of hernia:

  • Inguinal hernias are where fatty tissue or part of your bowel pokes through into your groin area. It is the most common type of hernia; it mainly affects men and is associated with ageing and repeated strain on the abdomen.
  • Femoral hernias are less common but present in similar ways to inguinal hernias – and they affect more women than men.
  • Umbilical hernias are where the lump appears near the belly button. It is most common in babies although adults can also be affected, mainly as the result of repeated strain.
  • Hiatus hernias happen when part of your stomach squeezes up into your chest through a weak spot in your diaphragm. This sort of hernia may cause heartburn in some people and is usually treated with medication. We do not offer surgery for hiatus hernias at Practice Plus Group.
  • There are other different types of hernia, including incisional hernias which may need repair.

What type of hernia is the most severe?

The severity of a hernia can depend on how quickly treatment is sought out (or if the hernia is treated at all). For example, if left untreated, a hernia can become strangulated. This means the blood supply to the trapped tissue is cut off, which can be life-threatening.

Even if treated, femoral hernias are one of the most serious. Femoral hernias occur when part of the bowel slides through weakened muscle and perforates the femoral canal. Pain is often located in the upper thigh and treatment is almost always surgery.

How do I know if my hernia needs surgery?

For most, hernias do not present with any symptoms other than the lump itself. However, if you experience a number of symptoms including sudden, severe pain, vomiting, constipation or wind, a tenderness in the area of the hernia and being unable to push the hernia back in, this may mean that your hernia has become ‘strangulated’ and you should seek immediate medical treatment.

If you suspect you have a hernia, your first port of call should be to your GP who can assess you. They may decide that you need treatment, in which case you will be referred for a surgical consultation. As with most consultations for general surgery, this will entail a physical exam, followed by a consultant discussion.

What is hernia surgery?

Hernia surgery is considered a major procedure. Surgery always requires anaesthesia – whether local or general – and sees a surgeon correct the bulge causing the issue.

Types of hernia surgery

The surgery you receive will depend on the type and location of your hernia, as well as the recommendation of your doctor.

Keyhole hernia surgery

Also called laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, keyhole surgery sees a surgeon use an instrument called a laparoscope (a thin telescope with a light). The laparoscope (and any tools the surgeon needs) is passed through the abdominal wall via small incisions.

Open hernia repair surgery

During open hernia repair surgery, your surgeon will make an incision over your hernia. He or she will then push the protruding tissue back through the muscle. This area of weakened muscle will have mesh either glued or stapled to it before the wound is closed with stitches.


Patient testimonial

“I met with a consultant for an initial consultation and was able to book in for surgery at the end of November, which suited me because it would fit around work.”

“All the staff were brilliant; they were polite, helpful and couldn’t have done more.”

“I can’t recommend Practice Plus Group at St Mary’s, Portsmouth, enough. Everything they did was excellent.”

Peter Sykes, Hernia patient, Practice Plus Group, Portsmouth

Which is the best surgery for hernias

The best type of surgery for hernia entirely depends on the following factors:

  • the type of hernia you’re experiencing
  • where the hernia is on your body
  • the severity of the hernia
  • whether you’ve had a hernia before
  • your overall health and age

The type of surgery will also depend on the recommendation of your doctor.

How is hernia repair surgery done?

We specialise in keyhole (laparoscopic) and open surgery; keyhole surgery uses smaller incisions (cuts) but is more difficult, involving several smaller cuts which allow the surgeon to use various special instruments to repair the hernia.

Between two and four small incisions are made through the abdominal wall through which the surgeon passes a thin telescope with a light on the end (called a laparoscope) and the instruments needed to carry out the procedure.

The laparoscope allows the surgeon to see the hernia and observe the surgery, which is done through the incisions using long thin instruments.

The hernia and/or hole are covered with mesh from within the abdomen and staples are used to fix the mesh to the muscle tissue.

For an open repair, a single cut is made over the hernia; the hernia is replaced within the abdomen (tummy) and repaired with a mesh. This technique is still the most common hernia repair technique in Britain.

How long does a hernia operation take?

The procedure takes between 30 and 45 minutes for a routine groin hernia, but potentially much longer for an incisional hernia.

How long will I be in hospital and what are the results of surgery?

In most cases you will go home on the day of surgery and our team will give you post-discharge advice and support to ensure that your hernia repair heals properly. We usually do not need to see you after the operation but will telephone you to make sure you are recovering well. If you have followed our advice you should make a full recovery in a few weeks.

Hernia surgery complications and potential risks

Irrespective of what type of hernia repair you require, complications are more likely if you’re over 50, you have another illness (such as heart disease or breathing problems), you’re overweight or you smoke.

Pre-operative assessment

A pre-operative assessment is our opportunity to ensure that the procedure for which you have been referred is right for you. We’ll explain your hernia treatment to you and make sure that you are well enough to go ahead with it. It is also your opportunity to meet the team who will care for you and to ask any questions.

Private hernia surgery costs

Private hernia surgery in the UK typically costs between £2,200 and £4,500. At Practice Plus Group, hernia repair surgery costs £2,680 and is available at the following locations:

  • Barlborough
  • Emersons Green
  • Ilford
  • St Mary’s Portsmouth
  • Plymouth
  • Shepton Mallet
  • Southampton
  • Gillingham
  • Devizes

Hernia surgery recovery tips

With regards to your recovery, there are a few things you can do to aid the process. Initially, you won’t be able to drive, so getting someone to drive you back from your operation (or booking a taxi) is recommended. It’s also a good idea to arrange for a friend or family member to stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery. You won’t be able to lift anything, so getting help with everyday activities like shopping will prove invaluable.

Eating food high in fibre along with plenty of fruit and vegetables will help avoid the risk of pain while straining on the toilet. It will also help with your general health. Walking and gentle exercise are also recommended, but only a few weeks after surgery. Be sure to ask your doctor for more information before starting to exercise.

Hernia surgery recovery time

0-1 days

Depending on the severity of your operation and your initial recovery from anaesthesia, you may be discharged on the day of your surgery. Soreness and discomfort around the affected area (as well as bruising and swelling around the scrotum for men) is common.

1-2 weeks

Between one and two weeks after your surgery, you should be able to return to light activities. These include shopping and desk-based work.

4-6 weeks

You should now be able to return to normal daily activities. Ask your doctor about resuming exercise. You can return to driving if you can perform an emergency stop without experiencing pain in the affected area.

Ways to pay

There are 3 ways to access hernia repair at Practice Plus Group:

  1. Pay for yourself
  2. Private health insurance
  3. NHS referral

Why choose Practice Plus Group

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.

Hernia surgery FAQs

Not yet found the information you’re looking for? Our hernia repair surgery FAQs can help!

Having a hernia doesn’t always mean you must have surgery. Opting not to have surgery doesn’t automatically mean your hernia will get worse; however, if your condition is affecting your ability to carry out daily activities, it’s likely your doctor will recommend surgery.

It depends on the type of hernia and how much pain you’re in. Some people delay surgery for months or even years. Others may never need surgery, particularly if the hernia is small and the symptoms are minor.

If left untreated, a hernia can become strangulated. This means the blood supply to the trapped tissue is cut off, which can be life-threatening. There is a very small risk of your abdominal hernia bursting.

Hernia surgery is considered a major procedure. Surgery always requires either local or general anaesthetic. It is also a common procedure with a high success rate. However, as with all surgeries, there is a level of risk. These will be discussed with you before the operation.

Hernia surgery isn’t painful as you’ll be under anaesthetic. The pain and discomfort will likely come during your recovery. Coughing, sneezing, sudden movement and going to the toilet may all cause discomfort.

It depends on the advice of your doctor and how much pain you feel. Generally, short walks are possible one or two weeks after surgery. However, if you aren’t experiencing any pain or discomfort, your doctor may recommend this sooner.

A return to driving is normally recommended between four and six weeks after surgery. You’ll need to be able to perform an emergency brake without pain before getting back behind the wheel.

You should avoid high-impact exercises like rugby and football. Activities that involve lots of running and jumping should also be given a wide berth. These should be avoided for up to six months following your surgery, but please seek advice from your doctor for further direction.

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