Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do all hernias require surgery?"
I went to the doctor with pain in my groin and abdomen and he says I probably have a very small hernia because its hard to feel and doesn't hurt so much. He said I should probably have surgery, but I really don't want to. Is it necessary to have surgery if you have a small hernia? Could it heal on its own?
Hernias do not resolve on their own. All hernias can potentially get worse and cause problems so they should always be evaluated by a general surgeon. Smaller hernias can often cause more serious complications than larger hernias because intestines can get caught and become ischemic within the hernia sac. When this occurs you will likely need an urgent operation to take care of the injured bowels and potentially another surgery later to fix the hernia. Larger hernias often cause discomfort but they are less likely to cause intestinal ischemia as the intestines can be pushed back into the abdomen. A decision of whether or not and when to fix it will be up to you and your surgeon. Hernias are defects in your abdominal walls. In the groin areas there are essentially three layers of muscles and sheets of fibrous tissue that make up your abdominal wall. Your skin and fat do not contribute to the strength of your abdomen wall and are not counted. Hernias in the groins are often difficult to tell. It is important to have it examined by someone who does it a lot as it is easy to miss a small hernia. A surgeon takes care of it often and can confirm if you have one if your family doctor suspects it. Surgeries can be done open or laparoscopic. Both have very good outcomes and you would be able to get back to light activity within 1-2 weeks. I would recommend a visit with a primary care physician or surgeon for more information.
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