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If you're going to get your hernia stitched up (and you're looking for trouble if you settle for mesh repair) be sure you get someone competent like Shouldice. This video highlights problems resulting from a botched stitch repair.

An animation showing how inguinal hernias happen

A different animation with a bit more detail

Here's an animation of the stitch type inguinal hernia surgery - at one point they mention that mesh may be put into the opening. You do not want any mesh.

Here are drawings from a medical encyclopedia (Atlas of surgery of Abdominal Hernias by Zhebrovskyy V.V.) of the Shouldice hernia procedure. The written parts are in Russian.

Some history on Shouldice and some footage of the operation. It's an old video and some parts are humorous in hindsight The experience there is still much the same.