What is a hernia?

A hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall through which fat or abdominal organs can protrude through. These can be occur at birth, develop over time, or develop after a prior surgery. There are also a number of common locations that a hernia can occur – see the various specific type of hernia descriptions below.

What is the problem with hernias?

Some hernias cause no symptoms and can simply be monitored. Others can cause symptoms with varying levels of effects on daily living. Rarely but importantly, some hernias can have their contents get stuck (incarcerate) within the defect; if they become so stuck as to cut off their own blood supply (strangulate), the incarcerated organs can die or perforate.

Will it get better or go away?

Outside of umbilical hernias in childhood, hernias will only stay the same size OR get larger.

Are there any important factors or diseases when considering a hernia surgery?

Yes, a number of factors are shown to affect the success of hernia surgery including weight (body mass index is used to standardize this), diabetes, immunosuppression, nutrition, and smoking. Depending on the complexity of the hernia and the degree of the above factors, surgery may be delayed to optimize conditions for the best possible outcome.

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