A spigelian hernia, also known as a lateral ventral hernia, develops through the spigelian fascia, the muscles found in the abdominal wall whereas most other hernias develop just below layers of fat.

Because of the location, swelling is often minimal with little outward signs of a hernia, allowing the condition to go undetected. A spigelian hernia can cause significant damage if left untreated, causing obstruction of vital organs such as the bowels (small and large intestine). This can result in cutting off blood supply to one or more of those organs, creating what is known as a strangulated hernia.


A spigelian hernia is relatively rare, usually developing after age 50, primarily in men. The cause is usually a weakening of the abdominal wall, trauma, or prolonged physical stress.Spigelian hernias are sometimes challenging to diagnose or mistaken for other abdominal conditions.


  • Recurring pain in the area of the hernia followed by constant dull pain
  • Sudden decrease in the proper bowel function lasting over 24-48 hours
  • A small protrusion in the abdominal area, soft to the touch in people with little body fat


Surgery is need to repair the hernia. In the case of a strangulated hernia, the condition is treated as an emergency.

For More Information

Ventral Hernia Repair (American College of Surgeons)

Complex Abdominal Surgery Program