Lumbar

Definition

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.

Who commonly presents with it?

Lumbar herniae are very rare and can present in any individual.

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. Most patients though require surgical repair as the hernia may be uncomfortable especially when lying down. The risk of incarceration or strangulation is 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.

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 1-2% risk of recurrence of the hernia.