Quick Answers to the 25 Most Frequently Asked Questions…
(In no particular order)
1 Is it dangerous to ignore the hernia?
Most hernias, if not treated, do nothing more than get bigger. However, hernias can get very painful, often without warning and at their worst can strangulate, which can demand an ambulance and immediate emergency surgery or the consequences could be extreme.
2 What is a Strangulated Hernia?
If the window in the abdominal wall should decide to close and clamp shut whilst a fold ofbowel (for example)is poking through it, this is a strangulated hernia.It cuts off the blood supply to the bowel which rapidly turns very unpleasant. It is usually extremely painful and is a surgical emergency. Sometimesit can require treatment within minutes, requiring an ambulance trip to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.
If you have pain with a hernia, especially a small one, you should not wait to see what happens. Get it repaired as soon as possible.
See the important section onStrangulated Hernia.
3 My local hospital/doctor/surgeon says they do the same operation. If that is the case, why do I need to come to you?
Not many of them really do, but if your local hospital really does do the same operation – and by a dedicated, highly expereinced team specialising in hernia who are achieving – and publishing – the same results, you can use either of us. Not all hernia operations are the same, unfortunately, nor are the outcomes, so choose wisely.
The next Question will help you…
4 How can I know if hernia surgery provided at my local hospital really is the same as at The British Hernia Centre?
The easiest way to compare is to start with these simple questions. For example,
- How many tens of thousands of hernia cases has your surgeon and his team performed? (Always ask that question)
- Is it done routinely under just local anaesthesia?
- Will you need overnight hospital admission at all?
- Will you be able to return to work and normal activities in the same amount of time?
- Are the risks of recurrence anything like the same?
- Do they have a 100% safety record andZERO MRSA?
5 Is there any advantage to being treated at a specialist hernia centre?
Hernia surgery is no different to any other walk of life in this regard. If other operations are done better by people who specialise in that work, then hernia is no different. Expert opinion now recognises the importance of specialisation in hernia, not only by the surgeon, but the rest of the team and the unit where the work is done.
Our own results have been improved on because of our experience with so many cases each year. We started off with excellent results, but by doing tens of thousands of hernias, even they were dramatically improved upon.See Value of Specialisation.
6 My Family Doctor says: “If it doesn’t hurt you, just leave it alone and see what happens.” Is this really good advice?
We would not seek to contradict any doctor, but we are increasingly coming to the view that this can be very bad advice.
As hernia specialists, we know that herniasonlytend to get worse and every day we leave them untreated, we run the risks of complications setting in as well as facing a larger operation eventually.
Theonly advice that should be given once a hernia is diagnosed is to get it repaired as soon as possible.
Many of the giant, even inoperable, hernias we see started off being ignored due to well-meaning advice by their GP.
Apart from the risks of strangulation, hernias can just get bigger and bigger.
This hernia (see photo) started off as a small bulge by his navel. It did not hurt him and he decided to accept the common yet mistaken belief that there was no reason to undergo surgery yet.
Of course as it became larger he still chose to put off dealing with it until it reached this stage, which was really not at all sensible. Sadly we see cases like this all the time.
This is pretty graphic evidence why we feel that the only advice that should be given once a hernia is diagnosed is to get it repaired as soon as possible.
7 I’m pregnant.Should I fix the hernia before the baby is born?
Probably not, but click here for important and helpful information on
8 I do not have a bulge and my doctor does not know if this is a hernia or not. How can I be sure?
The bulge is a very common symptom of hernia, but not all hernias have bulges…and not all groin pain is hernia.
To find out with more certainty in cases that are difficult to distinguish, you should be seen by a hernia specialist. For more information on confusing cases of groin injury click the link to Sport, Groin Pain and Hernia.
9 I had my hernia repaired somewhere else. How long before I can do things again?
Everybody repairs hernias differently and with different levels of expertise.The results are very widely varied. Although our patients are able to do whatever they likeas soon as they like, elsewhere it can take weeks or months to get back to normal. We cannot tell you what to expect, only the surgeon who did it can. Check the link toWhy Specialise?
10 What are the symptoms of a hernia – Is what I have found a hernia?
Unless you are a doctor, do not try self-diagnosis. The reasons are many, including that there are several possible symptoms (some, none or any mixture of) which you may have and may detect. However, what you have might be something else entirely and bythinking (perhaps incorrectly) that you can diagnose it as a hernia, you may be putting something else at great risk of going untreated.
If you have symptoms indicating something is not right, then see a doctor who can diagnose it for you properly. We do not recommendany other course as sensible.
11 I heard that Keyhole surgery is the best technique available. Do you agree?
Keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery represents a great advance in many areas of surgery, such as ovaries, throats, knees, etc.
For hernia though, we find that results that are as good, or better, can be achieved without the risks of keyhole surgery (except in certain specific cases).
Furthermore, our preferred approach does not need general anaesthesia. Keyhole surgery can only be done with general anaesthesia or spinal injections, which carry additional risks.
We stress that different ideas and beliefs by surgeons are healthy in order to make the changes that lead to advances and improvements. Although there are some eminent proponents of keyhole hernia repair, we do more of these tension-free hernia repairs than any hospital in the entire world, so we could use any technique known to surgical science. Our conclusions are therefore based upon very significant experience.
We DO offer laparoscopy, but in very specific cases where we find that to be more appropriate than the open repair we describe.
See Methods of Repair.
12 Can a hernia affect erections?
Uncomfortable or painful hernias have been known to cause such problems, because erectile function is very easily interfered with and if one gets any kind of pain with erection, the self-defence mechanism kicks in and prevents the pain by reducing the erection. It can be as simple as that.
This should get back to normal as soon as the underlying cause, namely the hernia, is dealt with. However, if the situation is allowed to continue for a long time, return to normal erectile function might not be quite so simple.
13 I am a lady in my eighties. My doctor tells me I am tooold for hernia surgery but my hernia is so large, it makes me look pregnant and am too embarrassed to leave my home. Can anything be done?
Almost certainly it can. Until now, much about hernia surgery has been quite dangerous in the elderly, or for patients with other complications.
The operations we now do are perfectly suitable for most such patients and you can be rid of the hernia problems very easily.
We see patients much older than you.
Click here for more on who is suited to surgery
14 What is a Spigelian Hernia?
All the names of the different hernias really relate only to where they are on the body, a rough guide to which is shown here (see diagram).
Spigelian hernia is much less common than others, but is nevertheless still a hernia in the abdominal wall, slightly to the side of the upper abdomen. It is, like the others, an opening of a window in the wall tissue which needs to be closed by surgery. For all other aspects, what you see on our website is the same information for all the abdominal wall hernias, including these.
We repair these hernias in almost exactly the same way as we repair the others, with a tension-free reinforcement. The operation is safer, the recovery is much faster and the long-term outcome better.
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed one should have the surgery and, ifpossible, by a hernia specialist who uses this modern technique routinely.
15 My child has a hernia. What needs to be done about it and who do I need to see?
Paediatric hernia must never be ignored. Things happen much faster in children and delay in treating a child’s hernia that mayneed treatment (not all of them do) could cause harm now and damage the child’s development.
See full details at Paediatric hernia
16 It doesn’t hurt me at all.Do I really have to get my hernia repaired?
Yes! There are many reasons why. Hernias (in adult life) do not repair themselves. In fact, they normally only get worse. Every day you leave your hernia, it gets slightly bigger, you are a day older, and the tissue just a little less ‘co-operative’. All you are doing is putting offtreatment and could be suffering symptoms while you do so. The obvious problems include pain, enlargement and at worst, strangulation (sometimes without warning).
Once diagnosed, abdominal wall hernias should be repaired as soon as possible andby the best techniques available.
17 Is there any way I can prevent myself from getting a hernia?
No.It is unfortunately somethingthat can afflict anyone. About one in ten of us will have one, which is an awfully large number.
18 I had a hernia repaired and it has come back (recurred). Can’t it be fixed once and for all?
Traditionally (using previous techniques)many hernia repairsfail (recur) and they tend to fare even worse when they get repaired again. The failure rate is thought to double with each subsequent attempt.
Happily we now have a proven technique which is so reliable that even hernias which have recurred and recurred several times over are as reliable as primary (first time) repairs. The risks of recurrence are an insignificant fraction of one percent.
See the page specifically on Recurrent Hernia.
19 Is there a link between Hernia and Testicles?
Yes. But it may not be what you think. Click to see the section on the page covering Testicular Involvement.
20 Are hernias hereditary?
No.We all inherit an anatomical weakness as part of the design of the human body and are thus susceptible to hernias.
21 Are hernias normally repaired by hernia specialists?
Most hernias around the world are repaired by general surgeons as just one of the list of procedures they perform. Hernia isnot a subject that has attracted enough interest generally to make it a specialised area. Theslow development of modern hernia techniques is a result. We feel that hernia needs specialisation.
22 If I am Self-Paying, what are the costs?
This depends upon a few variables. We repair just about every kind of hernia there is and we see patients who range fromthe peak of fitness and good health to really elderlyand sometimes infirm patients. Some hernias are straight-forward, primary (first time) repairs, others are recurrences of repairsdone elsewhere. Some are single, some are double hernias (or even more!) – and so forth. Typically the total costs are surprisingly affordable, but we need to know about the case to give an accurate guide. Try that form on the Contact Us Page. There is one for Abdominal Wall Hernia, another for Hiatus Hernia. That gives us the most important information about your case and we get back to you with our recommendations and a guide of the costs.
Not everything that is excellent is expensive and you may be very pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is.
23 My Insurance, HMO or National Health Service may not cover me to have this specialised treatment. What should I do?
If you are in this position, you must still remember that it isyourbody and your health at stake. If you feel that you can get something you vastly prefer to what they make available to you, then go for it yourself.
See the previous answer. As we say, not everything that is excellent is expensive and you may be very pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is.
24 I am planning a holiday in xxxxxx. My hernia is not really troublesome but I am worried something might happen away from home. What should I do?
Do NOT go on any kind of active holiday or travel anywhere far from good surgical care with a known hernia condition. You are at risk AND may well find yourself uninsured under the terms of your travel insurance. See the page on Holidays with known hernias.
25 If I want to see you, can you see me quickly?
Most certainly. Hernias need to be seen as early as possible and we would work around the clock to ensure we have no long waiting lists. Depending upon workload, we can see patients within days, commonly within two weeks and rarely more than 3 weeks after contacting us. For appointments, just call us. See the Contact Us page for everything you need.
There is, of course, much more detail on the actual pages themselves on this site. Feel free to read whichever pages interest you for more information.
Next: About Us
What is the most frequent complication of a hernia? ›
Incarceration, obstruction and strangulation are well recognized common complications of hernias.What is the failure rate of hernia surgery? ›
Reports of 90 – 99% success rates are common. Mesh repairs, in many cases, offer a smaller chance of hernia recurrence rate than non-mesh repairs. Unfortunately, some repairs may lead to very high incidence of chronic pain, which can range from 5-15%. The key is to find a surgeon that performs a lot of hernia surgery.What is the gold standard for hernia repair? ›
Inguinal hernioplasty: the gold standard of hernia repair.What should you not do with a hernia? ›
- Avoid heavy lifting when you can. Lifting puts stress on the groin.
- When you must lift, don't bend over. Lift objects by using the legs, not the back.
- Eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water. ...
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), hernia mesh repairs usually last five years. However, each case varies depending on the type of mesh used and other medical complications.What are the long term side effects of a hernia surgery? ›
You will incur additional:
- medical bills,
- lost work time, and.
- pain and suffering.
Abdominal pain after hernia surgery is caused by injury to your skin, muscles, and nerves during the operation. The extent of the surgery may affect how much pain you have afterwards. Tell your doctor about your hernia pain so that they can help you manage it, our goal is to lessen your suffering.How do you know if something is wrong after hernia surgery? ›
Mild pain or tenderness may be the only symptoms of hernia mesh failure. In other cases, patients may experience a burning sensation around the surgical site or a bulging area that protrudes through the skin. Bulging may be caused by the mesh dislodging or migrating, which can cause inflammation and pain.Which type of hernia surgery is best? ›
Surgical mesh in hernia repair surgery is highly effective
Research has consistently shown a lower recurrence rate using mesh versus repair without mesh, and the chances of hernia recurrence are decreased by as much as 50% when using mesh.
You should also be able to return to work after 1 or 2 weeks, although you may need more time off if your job involves manual labour. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process, but you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for about 4 to 6 weeks.
How big is the incision for hernia surgery? ›
This incision is usually about 6 to 8cm long. The surgeon then places the lump of fatty tissue or loop of bowel back into your abdomen (tummy). A mesh is placed in the abdominal wall, at the weak spot where the hernia came through, to strengthen it. When the repair is complete, your skin will be sealed with stitches.What is the average hernia settlement? ›
There are cases with less serious and permanent injuries. Our hernia mesh lawyers think the average settlement amounts in these cases will be $70,000 to $80,000 but, again, the more serious cases will have a higher average settlement amount.Can Sitting make a hernia worse? ›
Certain activities tend to make hernia symptoms worse. These may include prolonged standing, prolonged sitting, coughing, laughing, sneezing, straining during a bowel movement, sexual intercourse, getting in and out of a car or bed, bending forward, or crossing legs.What upsets a hernia? ›
What foods to avoid if you have a hernia? You should avoid any foods that can upset your stomach and aggravate constipation or bloating, such as spicy foods, citrus foods, oily fried foods and foods without fibre.What aggravates a hernia? ›
The pain tends to get worse if you sneeze, cough, lift something heavy or strain. But different types of hernia can cause other symptoms. For example, the most common kind of hernia is inguinal, which happens when your intestine bulges through a weak spot in the muscle that usually holds it all in.How long after hernia surgery can you bend over? ›
Avoid lifting more than 10 pounds for four weeks and excessive bending or twisting for one to two weeks following surgery. This is to allow healing of the incisions, specifically the fascia (the strongest layer of the abdomen wall) and to decrease the risk of your hernia coming back.How do I know if my hernia mesh is torn years later? ›
Seven common signs and symptoms of hernia mesh failure include bulging, burning, constipation, impotent and sexual dysfunction, nausea, lethargy, and pain. Depending on your injury, you may need to seek removal of the hernia mesh implant or revision surgery.Can I feel the mesh after hernia repair? ›
Because the mesh is on the inside, you will not be able to feel any mesh on the outside of your abdominal wall. Your abdominal pressure holds the mesh in place so that it will not migrate. Mesh is placed on the outside of the abdominal wall in traditional hernia surgery, which we very rarely perform.What kind of problems can you have after hernia surgery? ›
Complications that occur in the perioperative period include wound seroma/hematoma, urinary retention, and superficial incisional surgical site infection, while complications that occur later following hernia repair include persistent groin pain, sexual dysfunction, deep incisional/mesh infection, recurrent hernia, and ...What hurts after hernia surgery? ›
After a hernia repair procedure, most patients experience some degree of groin pain or discomfort as their incision heals and their body adjusts to the surgical mesh. Post-operative pain, a type of lingering pain that can last up to three months following surgery, usually improves as mesh-related inflammation subsides.
How can I heal faster from hernia surgery? ›
Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help you heal faster. Avoid lifting anything heavy or performing strenuous activities for at least four weeks. Sexual intercourse is permitted when you feel ready—generally, around two to three weeks post-surgery.Is it better to sit or lay down after hernia surgery? ›
The best sleeping position after umbilical hernia surgery is to sleep flat on your back with your head on a small pillow. This prevents too much pressure on the incision site and allows for comfortable breathing during sleep.What is the best pain relief after hernia surgery? ›
Most patients can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of the prescription medicine for pain after hernia surgery. Ibuprofen(Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) can often be taken in addition to the Tylenol.What is the best pain relief for a hernia? ›
Over-the-counter pain medications can relieve discomfort associated with an inguinal hernia. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen, or naproxen can be taken, depending on individual preference.Can a hernia change bowel movements? ›
Constipation or difficulty having a bowel movement
Any blockage in the large intestine caused by a hernia can cause constipation or difficulty in having a bowel movement as it interferes with digestion. It will also be difficult to pass gas, making you even more uncomfortable.
How long it takes for hernia mesh to heal depends on the type of surgery and the extent of the hernia repair. Most people can expect a full recovery about four to six weeks after the procedure.Can I push to poop after hernia surgery? ›
Do not strain and try to force a bowel movement though as you do not want to do any damage to your repaired hernia.Which is better mesh or no mesh hernia surgery? ›
Mesh and non‐mesh repairs are effective surgical approaches in treating hernias, each demonstrating benefits in different areas. Compared to non‐mesh repairs, mesh repairs probably reduce the rate of hernia recurrence, and reduce visceral or neurovascular injuries, making mesh repair a common repair approach.How many layers are cut during hernia surgery? ›
The surgeon makes three to five small cuts in your lower belly. A medical device called a laparoscope is inserted through one of the cuts. The scope is a thin, lighted tube with a camera on the end.Is it better to have hernia surgery without mesh? ›
Mesh made of either material can significantly reduce the risk of a recurrent hernia. However, mesh is not required in order to close the opening in the abdominal wall. A no mesh procedure uses nothing more than the body's own tissues, which reduces the risks associated with implants, such as rejection.
What not to do after hernia surgery? ›
Avoid strenuous activities, such as biking, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay. Avoid lifting anything that would make you strain.Is bed rest necessary after hernia surgery? ›
Absolute bed rest is no longer recommended for hernia operations. We give adequate pain relief in the form of painkillers when the patients go home. Hence, that should take care of the pain factor ,and they should encourage themselves to get out of bed and be on the move and thereby, they shorten their recovery time.What foods to avoid after hernia surgery? ›
You must not eat breads, crackers, biscuits, chunky meats such as steaks and dry meals such as cold cuts. You can now start eating soft food such as well cooked pasta, minced meat, flaked fish, well cooked rice, pulses and vegetables with plenty of sauce.Are you shaved for hernia surgery? ›
Do not shave the hernia area yourself – the surgical team will do this for you. important to drink plenty of water until you are told to stop – to help you feel better after surgery and reduce complications. Make sure you have some painkillers, such as paracetamol, available at home.Do they remove fat during hernia surgery? ›
The general surgeon will place the herniated tissue or organ behind the abdominal wall to repair the hernia. Dr. Hunsicker will tighten the weak or damaged abdominal muscles. She will also remove excess skin and fat and then place the skin and tissue to create a smoother, firmer abdomen.What tests are done before hernia surgery? ›
Preoperative preparation includes blood work, medical evaluation, chest x-ray and an EKG depending on your age and medical condition. After your surgeon reviews with you the potential risks and benefits of the operation, you will need to provide written consent for surgery.How much is my hernia case worth? ›
Hernia mesh claims will likely be worth $500,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the circumstances of your case. Hernia mesh complications can undermine one's quality and enjoyment of life, leaving victims to grapple with chronic pain and severe infections.Do you have to pay taxes on a hernia mesh settlement? ›
Are hernia mesh settlements taxable? Generally, hernia mesh settlements are not taxable. Under the tax code, settlements that compensate you for physical injury or illness are tax free. However, punitive damages awarded as a part of a jury claim may be taxable.How much do you get from hernia mesh settlement? ›
There are cases with less serious and permanent injuries. Our hernia mesh lawyers think the average settlement amounts in these cases will be $70,000 to $80,000 but, again, the more serious cases will have a higher average settlement amount.Does walking irritate a hernia? ›
If you're experiencing pain with your hernia, you may notice that the more intense the workout is, the worse your symptom gets. This is why if you're experiencing this, it's best to stick with less-intense workouts such as walking and jogging (over running).
Does bending over aggravate a hernia? ›
An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object.How can you live with a hernia without surgery? ›
- Wear hernia belts.
- While coughing or straining, hold the hernia.
- Take light walks.
- Avoid foods that cause inflammation.
- Exercises to strengthen the Abdomen.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Apply some ice.
- Take a fiber-rich diet.
The following foods are low-acid-producing foods and are less likely to aggravate your hiatal hernia symptoms: Bananas and apples. Green beans, peas, carrots, and broccoli.What foods help heal a hernia? ›
- non-citrus fruits, such as apples, pears, melons, and berries.
- vegetables, such as artichokes, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, squash, green beans, leafy greens, and peas.
- whole grains.
- nuts and seeds, like almonds and chia seeds.
- lean protein.
- plant-based milks, like soy or almond milk.
Stress and hernias
People who engage in heavy lifting or repetitive activities that put stress on the lower body may be at increased risk for hernias. If you already have a hernia, stress can make it grow larger and get worse. Remember that no hernia disappears on its own.
Though acidic foods are harmless and often nutritious, they can many a time increase irritation and affect hernia patients. If one is facing the same, the one should avoid food items like orange juice, caffeinated beverages and decaffeinated coffee.How do you calm a hernia flare up? ›
- Eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than a few large meals.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, such as fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine.
- Avoid lying down after a meal or eating late in the day.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
A hernia is a common but frequently misunderstood condition. You may have a hernia if you have swelling and a bulge that is able to be “pushed back” into your abdomen. If it continues to grow, you will need to have hernia surgery in order to repair it.What are the signs of a serious hernia? ›
- A painful bulge that doesn't reduce in size when you lay down and rest.
- Worsening pain.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Difficulty having a bowel movement.
- Racing heart rate.
However, hernias can lead to a number of problems such as groin pain, back pain, testicular pain, inner thigh pain, scrotal swelling, and intestinal obstruction. Rarely, untreated hernias can progress from intestinal obstruction to true vascular compromise of the intestinal tissues.
What causes a hernia to worsen? ›
The pain tends to get worse if you sneeze, cough, lift something heavy or strain. But different types of hernia can cause other symptoms. For example, the most common kind of hernia is inguinal, which happens when your intestine bulges through a weak spot in the muscle that usually holds it all in.What is the worse type of hernia? ›
Strangulated inguinal hernias are a more serious medical condition. This is when an intestine in an incarcerated hernia has its blood flow cut off.Can you live with a hernia without surgery? ›
Hernias don't go away on their own. Only surgery can repair a hernia. Many people are able to delay surgery for months or even years. And some people may never need surgery for a small hernia.Can you live with a hernia for a long time? ›
Absolutely Yes! If your hernia is not causing pain or discomfort – it is possible to live with your hernia. One must remember that there is a risk of an emergency (incarceration or strangulation) from any hernia. A painless hernia typically (but not always) will start causing discomfort prior to an emergency.Is hernia surgery a major surgery? ›
Repairing a hernia is major surgery. And like so many other types of surgery, hernia repairs have gotten much better for patients over the years, says Leon Clarke, MD, a general surgeon at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.What organs are affected by hernia? ›
Less common types of hernias include:
- Epigastric hernia. ...
- Giant abdominal wall hernia. ...
- Spigelian hernia.