What Is the Medical Treatment for a Hernia?
Treatment of a hernia depends on whether it is reducible or irreducible and possibly strangulated.
- Reducible hernia
- In general, all hernias should be repaired to avoid the possibility of future intestinal strangulation.
- If you have preexisting medical conditions that would make surgery unsafe, your doctor may not repair your hernia but will watch it closely.
- Rarely, your doctor may advise against surgery because of the special condition of your hernia.
- Some hernias have or develop very large openings in the abdominal wall, and closing the opening is complicated because of their large size.
- These kinds of hernias may be treated without surgery, perhaps using abdominal binders.
- Some doctors feel that the hernias with large openings have a very low risk of strangulation.
- The treatment of every hernia is individualized, and a discussion of the risks and benefits of surgical versus nonsurgical management needs to take place between the doctor and patient.
- Irreducible hernia
- All acutely irreducible hernias need emergency treatment because of the risk of strangulation.
- An attempt to reduce (push back) the hernia will generally be made, often after giving medicine for pain and muscle relaxation.
- If unsuccessful, emergency surgery is needed.
- If successful, however, treatment depends on the length of the time that the hernia was irreducible.
- If the intestinal contents of the hernia had the blood supply cut off, the development of dead (gangrenous) bowel is possible in as little as six hours.
- In cases in which the hernia has been strangulated for an extended time, surgery is performed to check whether the intestinal tissue has died and to repair the hernia.
- In cases in which the length of time that the hernia was irreducible was short and gangrenous bowel is not suspected, you may be discharged from the hospital.
- If a hernia that appears irreducible is finally reduced, it is important to consider a surgical correction. These hernias have a significantly higher risk of getting incarcerated again.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016
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