A Lumbar hernia is a protrusion through the lumbar triangle. There are two lumbar triangles, which lie between the bottom of the 12th (last) rib and the hipbone and are situated around the back of the body. It is seen as a hernia on the side of the abdomen
Who commonly presents with it?
Lumbar hernia are very rare and can present in any individual. It is also the hernia that can present after a sudden trauma, although this is rare and presents with bruising on the side of the abdominal wall. Diagnosing a lumbar hernia can often prove difficult with further tests required in some cases.
How does it present?
A Lumbar hernia is usually noticed as a lump on the back, which can be painful on coughing. A lumbar hernia can also have other vague symptoms of general back pain or discomfort. The lump may still be apparent on lying flat and also be aggravated by exercise. The hernia usually contains fat overlying the bowel (extraperitoneal fat) but can also rarely contain bowel.
What can be done?
If relatively symptom free lumbar hernia can be left alone, but it will increase in size. Most patients though require surgical repair as the hernia may become uncomfortable especially when lying down. The risk of incarceration or strangulation is though very small. Surgery involves an incision over the lump and closure of the defect with the use of a mesh. The mesh is designed to strengthen the repair. Surgery requires a general anaesthetic and can be undertaken by both keyhole and open techniques.
How long will your recovery take?
Recovery does not take long, with most patients being discharged within 2 to 3 days of surgery. Complete recovery is based on individual needs and fitness of the patient. Patients are encouraged to start mobilising gently immediately after surgery and refrain from lifting heavy objects for at least one month. A return to full activities is expected within 4 to 6 weeks.
What are the main risks of surgery?
Your surgeon will advise on any specific complications and risks. For all types of surgery there is always a risk of wound infection and a 2-5% risk of recurrence of the hernia as well as bowel and other organ injury.