Inguinal Hernia - Surgery
Surgery has generally been recommended for
inguinal hernias to avoid complications such as
strangulation, in which a loop of intestine becomes tightly trapped in a
hernia, cutting off the blood supply to that part of the intestine. But surgery
may not be needed if the hernia is small and you do not have symptoms. Consult
with your doctor to
decide if you need hernia repair surgery.
If a hernia in an adult can be pushed back (reduced), surgery can be done
at the person's convenience. If it cannot be pushed back, surgery must be done
Laparoscopic hernia surgery may have some advantages over
open surgery in
certain situations. Studies show that people have less
pain after this type of surgery and return to work and other activities more
quickly than after open repair. But laparoscopic surgery is more expensive than
open repair. And laparoscopic surgery has a higher risk for serious
The risk of a hernia coming back after surgery varies depending on
a surgeon's experience, the type of hernia, if mesh is used, and the person's
age and overall health.
Surgery in children
In most cases, a child with an
inguinal hernia will need
surgery to correct it.
Infants 6 months
of age and younger who have inguinal hernias have a much higher risk of
strangulation than older children and adults. So surgery for inguinal hernias
in infants is not delayed like it can be for adults.
- Synthetic patches are not needed to repair an inguinal hernia
in an infant.
- Some infants with inguinal hernias may need to be
hospitalized for surgery rather than have surgery in an outpatient setting. These
include infants who have lung problems, seizure disorders, or heart diseases from
birth or those who were born prematurely.
One of the major decisions concerning infants and
children is whether to explore the opposite
groin area for a hernia during a hernia repair. A
hernia develops in the other side of the groin in about 30% of children who
have had hernia surgery.
Things to think about in deciding whether
the other side should be explored include the overall health of the child, the
incarceration of a hernia, and the experience level of
the surgeon (how many of these surgeries the doctor has done and his or
her recurrence rates).