The classification of inguinal hernias has traditionally made a distinction between direct and indirect inguinal hernias. Indirect hernias pass through the deep inguinal ring and their natural path takes them along the inguinal canal to the superficial inguinal ring and on to the scrotum. The traditionally taught anatomical location would be to begin lateral to the inferior epigastric artery. A direct inguinal hernia passes directly through the abdominal wall at the site of Hesselbach’s triangle medial to the inferior epigastric artery. Unfortunately the anatomy of the inguinal region is not as clear cut - see Inguinal ligament.

Figure 1 (above): A right inguinal hernia and and incisional hernia causing small bowel obstruction.