CANADA 1-800-291-7750 | US/INTL. 1-855 328-3423

Our walk-in clinic is now open
Patients are encouraged to proceed with pre-operative examinations to ensure they are added to our surgical wait list.
The current wait time for surgery is 4 weeks.
Click here on how to become a patient.

Need help? Check below to see if we have the answer to your question.

Can I get the Shouldice Repair done elsewhere?
  1. At Shouldice Hospital, we set high standards. Our surgeons are fully qualified and licensed to perform surgery by the appropriate Canadian authorities. Then they are required to spend up to 6 months of intensive training in the Shouldice Technique to perfect their skills before they are approved to lead a Shouldice surgical team. Only surgeons practicing at Shouldice Hospital receive this training. The Shouldice technique is very detailed and must be practiced in high volumes to ensure consistently superior results.
  2. Most general surgeons will repair 20 to 30 hernias in a year. Shouldice surgeons average over 700 cases a year, which provides the highest level of practice and experience in the world. This is why Shouldice surgeons are the world‘s most experienced leaders in hernia repair
  3. Surgeons come from around the globe to observe the Shouldice technique. For two or three days, they can watch as the Shouldice repair is performed by Shouldice specialists. However, this is not training. Although many surgeons perform hernia repairs, we cannot offer a training program for them. As a result, we cannot guarantee the quality of any hernia repair said to be a Shouldice repair when it is performed by doctors outside of our hospital.
Do I need a referral to come to Shouldice Hospital?

No, you do not need a referral or an appointment for a hernia examination at Shouldice. All you have to do is to come to our walk-in clinic for a hernia examination. Or, if you live more than one hour away from the hospital (60 miles/100 km), simply complete the medical questionnaire and fax, mail or e-mail it to us for review.

How quickly can I arrange for an operation?

First, you must have an examination at our hospital or submit a completed medical questionnaire for review by one of our surgeons. Admission dates are scheduled as conveniently as possible and we will make every effort to accommodate your preferred admission date. Please keep in mind that your admission will depend on the space we have available and on specific medical criteria, such as your general health, your weight and the status of your hernia.


I have pain and swelling in my groin. Do I have a hernia?

Pain and swelling in the groin can have many different causes. A hernia can sometimes be quite difficult to identify and diagnose. In fact, over 1,000 patients a year come to Shouldice, convinced that they have a hernia when they really have a groin strain. If you think you have a hernia, come to our walk-in clinic for an examination by one of our hernia specialists. They have the experience and expertise to give you a proper diagnosis and may even be able to help you avoid an unnecessary operation.


Do you treat all types of hernias at Shouldice?

At Shouldice Hospital, we specialize exclusively in external abdominal wall hernias. We are experts in treating the following types of hernias:

  • Indirect and direct inguinal hernias
  • Recurrent hernias
  • Femoral hernias
  • Epigastric hernias (sometimes known as ventral hernias)
  • Incisional hernias
  • Spigelian hernias
  • Umbilical hernias

However, there are several types of hernias that we do not repair. If you have one of the following hernias, contact your doctor for treatment or referral to an appropriate specialist:

Hiatal or hiatus hernia
In this type of hernia, the stomach bulges up into the chest through the hiatus. The hiatus is an opening where the esophagus (food pipe) passes through to connect the throat to the stomach.

Parastomal hernia 
A parastomal hernia occurs when part of the intestine bulges through the abdominal muscles around a stoma. A stoma is an artificial opening in the abdomen, used to transfer waste products, such as feces or urine, to a small pouch outside the body. A stoma may be necessary for people with certain types of medical conditions, such as bowel cancer, Crohn’s disease or kidney disease.

Herniated Disc
The bones in the spine are cushioned by soft, spongy discs. When one of these discs is damaged, some of the soft, inner material may bulge out, causing back pain and irritation. This is known as a herniated or ruptured disc.

Flank or Lumbar Hernia
This type of hernia is fairly rare and usually develops after an operation or injury to the side of the abdominal wall. It usually causes pain in the low back and leg.

Sports Hernia
This condition, known also as Gilmore’s Groin, is not actually a hernia, but more of a severe groin strain and can be treated with therapeutic management. It may not require surgery.

Hernias can, on occasions, be difficult to diagnose. They can be present and then disappear. When this happens, the hernia does not repair itself, rather, the hernia defect, or hernia sac, simply goes back inside your abdomen through the same weakness in the abdominal wall - the weakness however, remains until it is surgically repaired.

Hernias may be identified by Ultrasound, CT scan or MRI (all of which are rarely needed) but the most reliable way is by a physical exam by a surgeon experienced in hernia repair. Diagnostic imaging “may” show that there are protrusions in the abdominal wall, but they cannot always differentiate the size of the actual hernia defect, or, whether the protrusion is a hernia versus a natural fold of the abdominal wall. Shouldice surgeons see hundreds of patients a year where initial diagnosis based on imaging confirmed the existence of a hernia, when in fact no hernia was clinically present. In these cases it may be better to wait and see if an actual hernia presents itself rather committing to unnecessary surgery.

As well, the absence of a hernia on a diagnostic image does not in itself mean there is no hernia, as surgeons at Shouldice encounter cases where imaging was negative for a hernia when, in fact, a hernia was present on examination.

Why do I stay at Shouldice for a few days after my surgery?

The patient-centred recovery program at Shouldice has been specially designed to promote healing in hernia patients. You should plan to stay at Shouldice the afternoon and evening before, and for three (3) nights after surgery to take part in this program.

During your recovery, our nurses will provide the specialized care you need to avoid any post-surgical complications. Most complications develop in the first 48 hours after surgery and a short hospital stay alleviates any concerns or anxiety for patients and their families. You will also get the rest, nutrition and exercise necessary for healthy healing. More importantly, you‘ll enjoy a confident recovery with a rapid return to normal activities.

You‘ll meet other patients who have been through the operation already and are happy to reassure you and answer your questions. Peer-to-peer mentoring is important because it relieves stress and promotes a positive attitude to recovery. We have found that this unique approach to post-operative treatment is the best way to prepare patients for a quick return to a normal lifestyle.

Can my spouse or partner stay at the hospital?

Your spouse or partner cannot stay at the hospital but we will provide a list of local hotels and bed and breakfasts for you.

How much does the operation cost?

Ontario Patients
Ontario’s Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers all costs to Ontario residents for public ward rate hospital accommodation and physician services.

Semi-private rooms are available at an additional cost. Patients with private insurance may be eligible for reimbursement on submission of paperwork we provide to you on discharge. We do not bill insurance companies directly on your behalf.

All charges are payable on admission by credit card, bank draft or cash.

Non-Ontario Canadian Resident Patients
Provincial health insurance plans cover all costs to Canadian residents for public ward rate hospital accommodation and physician services. Hospital ward charges are billed directly to respective provincial health ministries, with applicable physician services subject to payment by patients on admission. These fees may be submitted to provincial health plans for reimbursement based on paperwork provided to you on discharge. The amount you will be reimbursed will be dependent on your provinces applicable schedule of medical fees.

All qualifying patients will receive an admission letter with a breakdown of fees specific to their surgical procedure and related hospital stay.

Semi-private rooms are available at an additional cost. Patients with private insurance may be eligible for reimbursement on submission of paperwork we provide to you on discharge. We do not bill insurance companies directly on your behalf.

All charges are payable on admission by credit card, bank draft or cash.

US and International Patients
All patients who have submitted their medical questionnaire for assessment and have been qualified for surgery will receive a letter outlining our estimated fees specific to their stated surgical procedure and related hospital stay. Patients with private insurance coverage may be eligible for reimbursement on submission of paperwork provided to you. We do not bill insurance companies on your behalf, however, Shouldice Hospital has no-cost consultants trained to help you with your claim (as foreign insurance coverage is complicated we encourage all patients to pre-approve their coverage prior to admission).

All charges are payable on admission by credit card, bank draft or cash.

How long does the surgery take?

Most hernia repairs take an average of 45 minutes.


Can I drive home after I’m discharged?

In most cases, yes. We always recommend that you have a driver pick you up after your stay but some of our patients do drive home. If you are driving any distance, you may wish to pull over and stretch every so often. If you are flying, stand up in the aisle for a stretch and short walk.



When can I return to my normal activities?

Many of our patients are back to their normal routines within a week. We encourage you to be active and enjoy gentle exercise as soon as possible after your operation. We even provide a putting green, exercise bikes, shuffle board and pool tables for you to use while you are our guest. However, we always encourage you to start slowly and use good judgment. Too much vigorous activity too soon may cause some discomfort but will not damage your repair.



How soon can I return to work?

You can return to work as soon as you feel up to it. Most people are back at work within 8 to 10 days.



Will I need to lose weight?

We know that losing weight can be a difficult task, especially if your hernia is limiting your ability to exercise. However, managing your weight helps to get your body in shape so that you will get the best results from your operation. Achieving a reasonable weight contributes to the success of your hernia repair.

When you are overweight, fat builds up over your abdominal wall, making it more difficult for the surgeon to reach and repair the hernia. Fat can also collect in your muscles. Abdominal fat is very soft, like pudding or Jell-O, and has no strength. As the fat collects, it weakens your abdominal muscles, making your hernia repair less secure and increasing your chances of complications. The Shouldice Diet will help to prepare and improve your muscle tissue to ensure the best possible condition for a successful repair.

An important lifestyle change
We have decades of evidence to prove that you will be more satisfied with the results of your hernia repair if you achieve your weight loss goals. By following our special diet, you can improve your muscle quality and reduce your risk of complications.

We have a registered dietitian on staff who is very experienced in helping people get ready for their hernia operations. She can help you make healthy choices and will follow up with you by phone to encourage you and monitor your progress.

Many of our patients have benefited so much from our weight loss program that they have made a long-term commitment to maintaining a healthier weight. Getting your body in shape for your hernia repair may be just the motivation you need to change your lifestyle for the better. We know you can do it, and we‘re always there to help if you need it!



Ready to get started? Contact us today for a free consultation.

We strongly encourage our prospective patients to have a free hernia assessment via the Medical Questionnaire, to be completed on the  myShouldice web portal.


    7750 Bayview Avenue,
    Thornhill, Ontario,
    Canada L3T 4A3
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    Tel: 905-889-1125
    Fax: 905-889-4216
    Canada: 1-800-291-7750
    U.S./International: 1-855-328-3423


    Shouldice Hospital is committed to excellence in serving all patients including people with disabilities.
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