ZocdocAnswersIs 'watch and wait' preferable for a small inguinal hernia?

Question

Is 'watch and wait' preferable for a small inguinal hernia?

60 year old male. Hernia appeared 1 yr. ago. 7.5 x6.5x1.5 cm buldge that is easily pushed back inside.

Answer

Inguinal hernias, as you probably know, are a very common type of condition that develops when a weakness or defect of tissue in the groin area allows stomach contents, such as fat and intestines to bulge downward, usually right into or alongside the scrotum. With very small inguinal hernias, a watch and wait approach is sometimes just fine, especially if the hernia is not causing any symptoms, such as pain with walking or straining, and is not growing any larger. However, based on what you are describing as the size of your hernia, which is almost 8 by 7 centimeters, that doesn't sound like a small inguinal hernia to me! The problem with hernias this size is that they almost always keep getting bigger. Also, there is always the risk that they will 'strangulate' - meaning that the bulging tissue will be caught and no longer easily pushed back inside, potentially leading to death of that tissue. For these reasons, I would suggest that you talk to a general surgeon about a potential surgical hernia repair. This is a generally a straight forward same day procedure and, in the absence of other major medical problems, is usually very well tolerated.

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