Spigelian Hernia

Spigelian hernias are a less common type of hernia that occur in a specific part of the abdominal wall known as the Spigelian fascia. This location is not where hernias typically arise, making Spigelian hernias more challenging to identify. This article aims to explore Spigelian hernias, including their causes, how they manifest, and the crucial role that modern imaging techniques play in diagnosing them.

What is a Spigelian Hernia?

A Spigelian hernia happens when abdominal contents, such as fat or part of the intestine, push through a weak spot in the Spigelian fascia. This fascia is situated between the muscles of the abdomen, making the hernia less noticeable and often harder to diagnose. Because of its unique position, it’s also referred to as a “lateral ventral hernia.”

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of Spigelian hernia is not always clear, but it’s believed to be related to a combination of pressure within the abdomen and a pre-existing weakness in the Spigelian fascia. Factors that might increase abdominal pressure and risk include obesity, heavy lifting, coughing persistently, or pregnancy. Age is also a factor, with these hernias more commonly appearing in adults aged 40 to 60.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Symptoms of a Spigelian hernia can vary, but they often include a lump or swelling that may come and go, especially noticeable when straining or standing. Pain or discomfort near the lump is common, which might worsen with activities that increase abdominal pressure. Due to their location, these hernias can be difficult to detect visually, making awareness of their symptoms crucial for early diagnosis.

Diagnosis: The Role of Imaging

Imaging plays an important role in diagnosing Spigelian hernias due to their deep location within the abdominal wall. Ultrasound is often the first step in imaging, providing a non-invasive method to detect the presence of a hernia. However, for a more detailed view, a CT (Computed Tomography) scan is considered the best test.  It offers a clearer image of the hernia’s size, content, and its exact location, which is crucial for planning treatment.

Treatment Options

Treatment for Spigelian hernia typically involves surgery, as this is the only way to repair the hernia definitively. The surgical approach can vary, depending on the hernia’s size and the patient’s overall health. Laparoscopic surgery is often preferred due to its minimally invasive nature, leading to quicker recovery times and less post-operative pain. In some cases, open surgery may be necessary. Your surgeon will discuss the best option for your specific situation.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection and treatment of a Spigelian hernia are crucial to prevent complications, such as incarceration or strangulation of the herniated tissue. These conditions can lead to severe pain and require emergency surgery. Awareness of the symptoms and risk factors, coupled with timely medical consultation, can significantly impact the outcome for individuals with this type of hernia.


Although Spigelian hernias are rare, understanding their symptoms, causes, and the importance of imaging in their diagnosis can help individuals seek timely medical attention. With the right approach to treatment and recovery, most people can expect to return to their normal activities without lingering issues. If you suspect you have a hernia of any type, consult with a healthcare provider to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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