Determine The Right Time to Undergo Hernia Repair Surgery

Must hernias be repaired immediately?

Most of the time hernias do not need immediate repair. There are three exceptions.

  1. If you are diagnosed with an inguinal hernia or femoral hernia, and your doctor determines that your intestines have become incarcerated, it must be repaired immediately. An incarcerated hernia means that your hernia cannot be pushed back into your abdomen (don’t try this unless your doctor shows you how). Basically, it’s stuck and causes serious problems, such as blocked intestines, more severe pain than usual with the hernia, nausea and vomiting.
  2. If your inguinal hernia becomes strangulated, it must be repaired immediately. Strangulation occurs when a loop of intestine in the hernia is pinched or strangulated, and the blood supply to that part of your intestine decreases or stops altogether. A strangulated hernia results in greater levels of pain, nausea, vomiting and a fever. You might have constipation or notice blood in your bowel movements. A strangulated intestine can prevent you from passing gas or having a bowel movement. Left unrepaired, the strangulated section could die, which is called gangrene and is life threatening.
  3. If you’re planning to travel to a third world country, Dr. William Brown recommends your hernia be repaired prior to your trip. Should it worsen, become incarcerated or strangulated, third world medical facilities are not the ideal place for an emergency surgery. Plus, it could ruin an otherwise terrific experience. 

With the exceptions of incarceration, strangulation and third world travel, in which case the first two are rare, you can wait to repair your hernia. In some cases, waiting may be recommended to give you time to get your body in optimal condition for healing post surgery. If you smoke, stop months prior to hernia repair surgery so that your connective tissues have the collagen they require to heal faster. If you’re overweight, watch your diet and try to lose a few pounds prior to surgery so you’re in better shape to perform recovery exercises. If you suffer from allergies, talk to your doctor about ways to better control them so that excessive sneezing and coughing doesn’t undo the repair or cause another hernia. Check with your insurance to see where you stand with your deductible. If you’ve already met it for the year, it might be best to have repair surgery now versus waiting until the deductible starts over again.

These are just a few considerations to keep in mind as you decide when the right time to undergo hernia repair surgery is. If you have other questions, our office staff is here to help. Learn more about Dr. Brown’s approach to hernia repair. Contact Dr. Brown or his friendly staff today.