A flank hernia, also known as a lumbar hernia, results from defects in the postero-lateral abdominal wall that allows the tissues inside the abdomen to protrude.  Lumbar hernias most frequently occur as a result of traumatic injury to the back or side of the abdominal wall, but may also result from surgery (e.g. operations for patients with severe kidney disease). Flank hernias occur most often in individuals aged 50 to 70, most frequently in men, with the vast majority, two-thirds, occurring on the left side of the body.

Signs and Symptoms

Individuals suffering from a lumbar hernia may be completely asymptomatic. If symptoms are present, they include back or flank pain or a dragging sensation. Left untreated, lumbar hernias can grow to large proportions.


Surgical repair of flank hernias can be very challenging because of the anatomic location of the hernia. The area to be repaired is often bordered by bone and other weak tissue structures that generally do not support the use of mesh.