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Double truss for the treatment of a hernia, London, England, 1901-1918

A hernia occurs when an organ or part of the body protrudes through the muscle wall in the body. This truss is used to support a hernia in the groin. Hernias of this type are caused by physical effort, or even through excessive coughing, and were once a very common problem among labourers and the elderly. Today they are usually easily corrected by a simple surgical procedure, but before the National Health Service began in 1948, hernias were often left untreated, causing a great deal of pain. The truss, constructed from cloth-covered metal, was made by S Maw, Sons and Son, a surgical and medical instrument maker based in London.

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Glossary: truss

A bandage or apparatus used by hernia patients to support the affected parts and hold them in the correct position.

Glossary: hernia

A small amount of an organ or tissue bulging through an abnormal opening in the skin.