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Should all hernias be repaired?

Hernias always require surgical repair at some point. The only issue is the urgency of the repair. That is on a person-to-person basis, based on lifestyle and people’s normal everyday activities. Most hernias will not heal on their own. When the defect is there, it is there, although they might stay stable over time.

Unfortunately surgery is the only way to repair a hernia. A hernia is basically a "hole" in the abdominal wall which allows the abdominal lining or part of the abdominal organs to protrude through it. The main reason surgery is required to fix these is that in some cases, intestine or other tissue can become trapped in the hernia and lose its blood supply (become strangulated). This is an emergency needing surgery.

Theoretically speaking, all hernias are like time bombs because you never know when they’re going to incarcerate or strangulate. With that said, there are some hernias that are less than one centimeter, asymptomatic or the patient is so sickly that surgery would be high risk. Those hernia cases should continue to be observed, but you have to take it case by case.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.