"A congenital hernia from an adult. The roll of paper is passed through the inguinal canal into the cavity of the tunica vaginalis testis, in the place formerly occupied by the protruded intestine.
Dissected by Percivall Pott, Esq, circa 1750."
A hernia occurs when an organ (or part of an organ) protrudes through the wall of the cavity which normally contains and protects it. A hernia can therefore happen in many places on the body. This is an inguinal hernia which is very common and in fact my younger brother suffered two at different times – luckily they can now easily be treated with surgery and they are in fact the most common elective surgery.
In a hernia such as this, the small bowel descends through a weakness in the abdominal walls and manages to protrude into the tunica vaginalis of the testicle. (It may seem that something with the word ‘vaginalis’ in it would belong to a woman but the word ‘vagina’ actually comes from the latin meaning ‘sheath’, so in this instance it’s the sheath which covers and protects the testicle that we’re talking about. There are different factors which cause hernias, some congenital, but there are lifestyle choices which can make the likelihood of getting a hernia worse: obesity for example, or incorrect posture and incorrectly lifting heavy weights.