What are my options?
Do nothing – Doing nothing leaves things as they are, and obviously removes any risk of surgery –
The hernia will almost certainly enlarge with time, becoming more of a nuisance to you
Any symptoms, such as discomfort will also worsen, affecting your quality of life.
Delaying surgical repair and allowing the hernia to enlarge significantly is likely to make later operation more complicated
There is always the (rare but real – perhaps 2-5%) possibility of strangulation – where the bowel becomes trapped in the hernia and loses its blood supply – requiring emergency surgery.
Some doctors advise, and some patients use, a truss. A kind of a belt with a piece of padding to hold the hernia in. Not recommended.
In the majority of cases surgical repair is a better option – see “watchful waiting”
Surgical repair – this gets rid of the hole in the abdominal wall.
How are hernias repaired?
Think of a hernia as a hole in a jacket or shirt. You could sew the edges together but sewing the edges together, whether it is clothing or human tissue, results in tension, with the stitches sometimes cutting out and a recurrence of the hole.
Using extra material to repair the hole makes sense – and nowadays the use of mesh to repair an inguinal hernia is now standard practice!
The mesh has to be inserted in the correct way, and this is where the skill and experience of the surgeon is important. The gauze or mesh patch is placed either on the outside of the hernia defect or on the inside.
Surgeons, operations and mesh
There seems to be an assumption that you are comparing operations – like comparing similar items in a supermarket.
But you are really comparing the combination of both operation and surgeon (and mesh) – on balance I believe the surgeon is the more important factor.
So choosing your operation, or even your mesh is not really the best way to go.
Find your surgeon, make sure he knows how to do the operation, and trust him to do the best job.
Specialist hernia surgeons and experts
Are there specialist hernia surgeons? …read more