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.