Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find the answers to many of your questions about inguinal hernia repairs. Learn how the surgeries are done, what they may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how these surgeries are done, view our animations below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for hernia repair and learn how your choice of doctor and hospital affect that cost. The costs are different for open and keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery.
Open hernia costs Scope hernia costs


This short animation shows how an inguinal hernia can develop, how it can be pulled back into your abdomen and how mesh is inserted to stop it happening again.

The basics

What are inguinal hernias?

A hernia occurs when tissue (fat or intestine) bulges out through an opening in your abdominal wall muscles. An inguinal hernia occurs in your groin.

Some people choose to delay hernia surgery for this type of hernia but children with inguinal hernias usually need timely surgery.

Other types of hernia

There are several other types of hernia not covered here:

  • hiatus hernia – when your stomach bulges through your diaphragm. See the costs of hiatus hernia repair surgery here.
  • femoral hernia – in your groin, upper thigh or labia.
  • ventral incisional hernia – on the site of a previous surgical incision.
  • umbilical hernia – often seen in newborns but can occur at any age. It’s caused by a weakness in the area around the belly button. In babies this may resolve spontaneously but in adults it will remain the same size or get larger with time.
  • hydrocoele – a bag which fills with fluid and appears in one or both sides of a man’s scrotum. They're also common in newborn babies but normally disappear a few months after birth.

Where's it done?

Hernia repairs may be done in a specialised day surgery, or in the day surgery department of an overnight hospital. Many surgeons keep their patients in hospital overnight.

How long does it take?

Usually between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on how complex it is.

Who’s involved?

  • surgeon
  • anaesthetist
  • nurses (during your surgery and recovery)
  • pathologist (if pre-operative blood tests are necessary).



Alternatives to inguinal hernia repair

Options that may delay your need for surgery.

Learn more

Types of inguinal hernia surgery

Your repair may be performed as keyhole or open surgery.

Learn more

Results vs risks of the surgery

The benefits and potential complications of surgery.

Learn more

Choosing a specialist

How to find a surgeon who specialises in your surgery.

Learn more


Questions for your doctor

What you should be asking before going ahead with hernia repair.

Learn more

Preparing for your surgery

What you need to do before surgery.

Learn more

Your anaesthetic options

About the anaesthetic and post-op pain relief.

Learn more


Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of your surgery.

Learn more

Your surgery

What happens in the operating theatre?

Learn more


After your surgery

What happens before you go home.

Learn more


Taking precautions and resuming activities.

Learn more

Patient experiences

People who’ve had a hernia repair talk about their preparation, hospital stay and recovery.
View videos

Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.