Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait? | Michigan Medicine

Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait? | Michigan Medicine
Top of the page decision Point Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait? You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation.


Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them. Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait? 1 Get the facts 2 compare options 3 your feelings 4 your decision 5 quiz yourself 6 Your Summary Get the facts Your options This decision aid is not for parents of infants and children who have inguinal hernias. Infants and children always need surgery to repair a hernia because of the increased risk of incarceration and strangulation. Key points to remember FAQs What is an inguinal hernia? An inguinal hernia (say "IN-gwuh-nul HER-nee-uh") occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in your groin muscle. This causes a bulge in the groin, scrotum, or labia. The bulge may hurt or burn, or it may not hurt at all. Why do hernias need to be repaired? Many doctors recommend surgery because it can prevent a rare but serious problem called strangulation. This occurs when a loop of intestine or a piece of fatty tissue is trapped in a hernia and the blood supply is cut off, which kills the tissue. Repairing the hernia can also relieve the symptoms of pain and discomfort and make the bulge go away. The hernia won't heal on its own. If your hernia does not bother you, most likely you can wait to have surgery. Your hernia may get worse, but it may not. Over time, hernias tend to get bigger as the muscle wall of the belly gets weaker and more tissue bulges through. In some cases small, painless hernias never need repair. What kinds of surgery are used for inguinal hernia? There are two types of hernia repair surgeries: It can take up to 4 weeks after open hernia surgery before you can begin normal strenuous activities. If you have laparoscopic surgery, you may recover sooner. A synthetic patch or mesh may be used to repair your hernia. Patch use is becoming widespread in repairing hernias in adults. A patch may strengthen your abdominal wall, reduce your discomfort after surgery, and reduce the chance that your hernia repair will have to be done again. When is it safe to delay surgery? You and your doctor may want to put off surgery if: It may also be a good idea to put off surgery if: Talk with your doctor before wearing a corset or truss for a hernia. These devices are not recommended for treating hernias and sometimes can do more harm than good. There may be certain cases when your doctor thinks a truss would work, but these are rare. Compare your options Compare Compare Option 1 Have surgery now Wait and see Compare Option 2 Have surgery now Wait and see What is usually involved? What are the benefits? What are the risks and side effects? Have surgery now Have surgery now Wait and see Wait and see Personal stories about having surgery for inguinal hernia These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions. I work on a loading dock and often have to lift heavy boxes for my job. One day I noticed a tender bulge in my groin that became more and more painful on the job. My doctor said I had an inguinal hernia. I decided to have surgery to repair it, because I just couldn't work anymore with the hernia. Boyce, age 45 My inguinal hernia does not bother me much. So I could live with it. But it makes a big bulge, and I don't like the way it looks. So I decided to have surgery to have it repaired and make the bulge go away. Seaton, age 42 Over the last few years I had gotten overweight. So I went on a crash diet to lose the extra weight fast. Afterward I got a cold and coughed a lot. Later I noticed a small bulge in my groin area that hadn't been there before. My doctor said it was an inguinal hernia and showed me how to push it back into my belly. Although I could have surgery to repair it, I decided to wait to see if it gets worse. la mar, age 57 I have a hernia and I am pregnant. It bothers me some, but I have decided to wait until after my baby is born to have the hernia repaired. I just think there is too great a chance of harm to my baby from the anesthesia and surgery to have the hernia repaired before delivery. Brie, age 31 What matters most to you? Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements. Reasons to have surgery now Reasons to wait My hernia is keeping me from doing daily activities or from returning to work. My hernia doesn't bother me at all. More important Equally important More important I want to have the hernia repaired while my insurance or worker's compensation will help cover the costs. I am worried about being able to afford the operation. More important Equally important More important I will be traveling to an area where health care may not be available, so I want to take care of this now. I have no plans to travel to places where health care may not be available. More important Equally important More important Surgery would be convenient for me at this time. This is not a good time for me to have surgery. More important Equally important More important My other important reasons: My other important reasons: More important Equally important More important Where are you leaning now? Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now. Having surgery now Waiting to have surgery Leaning toward Undecided Leaning toward What else do you need to make your decision? Check the facts 1.1, One reason for me to have surgery for my inguinal hernia is to prevent a rare but serious problem called strangulation. 2.2, I need surgery even though my hernia is small and doesn't bother me. 3.3, I can wait for my hernia to go away on its own. Decide what's next 1.1,Do you understand the options available to you? 2.2,Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you? 3.3,Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice? Certainty 1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision? Not sure at all Somewhat sure Very sure 2.2, Check what you need to do before you make this decision. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps. Your Summary Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision. Your decision Next steps Which way you're leaning How sure you are Your comments Your knowledge of the facts Key concepts that you understood Key concepts that may need review Getting ready to act Patient choices What matters to you < Previous Next > Print Summary Credits Credits Author Healthwise Staff Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine Primary Medical Reviewer Kenneth Bark MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them. Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait? Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision. Get the facts Compare your options What matters most to you? Where are you leaning now? What else do you need to make your decision? 1. Get the Facts Your options This decision aid is not for parents of infants and children who have inguinal hernias. Infants and children always need surgery to repair a hernia because of the increased risk of incarceration and strangulation. Key points to remember FAQs What is an inguinal hernia? An inguinal hernia (say "IN-gwuh-nul HER-nee-uh") occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in your groin muscle. This causes a bulge in the groin, scrotum, or labia. The bulge may hurt or burn, or it may not hurt at all. Why do hernias need to be repaired? Many doctors recommend surgery because it can prevent a rare but serious problem called strangulation. This occurs when a loop of intestine or a piece of fatty tissue is trapped in a hernia and the blood supply is cut off, which kills the tissue. Repairing the hernia can also relieve the symptoms of pain and discomfort and make the bulge go away. The hernia won't heal on its own. If your hernia does not bother you, most likely you can wait to have surgery. Your hernia may get worse, but it may not. Over time, hernias tend to get bigger as the muscle wall of the belly gets weaker and more tissue bulges through. In some cases small, painless hernias never need repair. What kinds of surgery are used for inguinal hernia? There are two types of hernia repair surgeries: It can take up to 4 weeks after open hernia surgery before you can begin normal strenuous activities. If you have laparoscopic surgery, you may recover sooner. A synthetic patch or mesh may be used to repair your hernia. Patch use is becoming widespread in repairing hernias in adults. A patch may strengthen your abdominal wall, reduce your discomfort after surgery, and reduce the chance that your hernia repair will have to be done again. When is it safe to delay surgery? You and your doctor may want to put off surgery if: It may also be a good idea to put off surgery if: Talk with your doctor before wearing a corset or truss for a hernia. These devices are not recommended for treating hernias and sometimes can do more harm than good. There may be certain cases when your doctor thinks a truss would work, but these are rare. 2. Compare your options Have surgery now Wait and see What is usually involved? What are the benefits? What are the risks and side effects? Personal stories Personal stories about having surgery for inguinal hernia These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions. "I work on a loading dock and often have to lift heavy boxes for my job. One day I noticed a tender bulge in my groin that became more and more painful on the job. My doctor said I had an inguinal hernia. I decided to have surgery to repair it, because I just couldn't work anymore with the hernia." — Boyce, age 45 "My inguinal hernia does not bother me much. So I could live with it. But it makes a big bulge, and I don't like the way it looks. So I decided to have surgery to have it repaired and make the bulge go away." — Seaton, age 42 "Over the last few years I had gotten overweight. So I went on a crash diet to lose the extra weight fast. Afterward I got a cold and coughed a lot. Later I noticed a small bulge in my groin area that hadn't been there before. My doctor said it was an inguinal hernia and showed me how to push it back into my belly. Although I could have surgery to repair it, I decided to wait to see if it gets worse." — la mar, age 57 "I have a hernia and I am pregnant. It bothers me some, but I have decided to wait until after my baby is born to have the hernia repaired. I just think there is too great a chance of harm to my baby from the anesthesia and surgery to have the hernia repaired before delivery." — Brie, age 31 3. What matters most to you? Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements. Reasons to have surgery now Reasons to wait My hernia is keeping me from doing daily activities or from returning to work. My hernia doesn't bother me at all. More important Equally important More important I want to have the hernia repaired while my insurance or worker's compensation will help cover the costs. I am worried about being able to afford the operation. More important Equally important More important I will be traveling to an area where health care may not be available, so I want to take care of this now. I have no plans to travel to places where health care may not be available. More important Equally important More important Surgery would be convenient for me at this time. This is not a good time for me to have surgery. More important Equally important More important My other important reasons: My other important reasons: More important Equally important More important 4. Where are you leaning now? Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now. Having surgery now Waiting to have surgery Leaning toward Undecided Leaning toward 5. What else do you need to make your decision? Check the facts 1. One reason for me to have surgery for my inguinal hernia is to prevent a rare but serious problem called strangulation. You're right. Many doctors recommend surgery because it prevents strangulation, which happens when a piece of tissue gets trapped inside the hernia and is cut off from its blood supply. 2. I need surgery even though my hernia is small and doesn't bother me. You're right. If your hernia is small and your symptoms don't bother you, you can delay surgery. Some people never need surgery. 3. I can wait for my hernia to go away on its own. You're right. An inguinal hernia won't go away on its own. Only surgery can repair it. Decide what's next 1. Do you understand the options available to you? 2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you? 3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice? Certainty 1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision? Not sure at all Somewhat sure Very sure 2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps. Credits By Healthwise Staff Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine Primary Medical Reviewer Kenneth Bark MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document some Information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version. Current as of: April 15, 2020 Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth Bark MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content. To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org. © 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait?
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