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What is the difference between a direct and indirect hernia?

When talking about direct or indirect hernias, we are talking about inguinal hernias only. Actually, both can be in a position so they don’t get all the way into the scrotum and both can be in a position that gets to the scrotum.

There are anatomical and positional differences in direct and indirect hernias, although surgically the management is pretty much the same. A direct hernia will cause a visible bulge when you are standing and will disappear when you lie down. Hernias that are present in the scrotum are always indirect hernias, and they are more likely to develop complications, such as strangulation, which is a surgical emergency.

Direct and indirect hernias refer to different types of groin (inguinal) hernias. These terms define the exact location in the groin where the hernia has occurred. They are treated the same way. It’s often difficult to fully determine if you have a direct inguinal hernia or an indirect inguinal hernia until the time of surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.