What You Need to Know

One of the causes of an inguinal hernia is weight gain, and a hernia can take months or years to develop. The tear in the abdominal wall can occur and grow larger as weight increases strain and pressure in the area. So, not only does weight gain increase chances of a hernia, obesity has a negative effect on post-surgery recovery and results.

What’s the difference between carrying a few extra pounds, being overweight and being obese? Being considered overweight or obese refers to a body weight that is greater than what is healthy for your height. Of course, the taller you are, the more weight you can carry. You can determine whether you fall into the overweight or obese category by calculating your body mass index (BMI). Calculate your BMI.

BMI Categories:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Obesity brings significant risk factors for perioperative problems, including:

  • The tissue planes are difficult to find, so the operation takes significantly longer.
  • There is a higher rate of infection and slower healing.
  • The nerves are harder to identify, and thus are at more risk for injury.
  • Sites of bleeding are harder to find and stop.
  • The risk of a recurrent hernia surgery is increased.
  • There is a higher risk for deep venous thrombosis.

Losing weight and decreasing your BMI prior to hernia repair surgery can greatly reduce your risk for complications and improve your outcome after surgery. Just losing weight alone can help alleviate some of the pain you’ll experience after surgery. More importantly, weight loss may reduce your hernia symptoms (a bulge) and pain to the point where you can delay surgery for a while. We recommend reaching a BMI of less than 30 prior to hernia repair. Also, stop taking any weight loss medications before surgery.

If at all possible, Dr. William Brown recommends his patients’ BMIs are less than 30 before undergoing surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. Learn more about Dr. Brown’s recommendations for the best hernia repair results. Contact Dr. Brown today.