Skip to Content

Inguinal Hernia: Surgery in Adults

Topic Overview

Adults need to have inguinal hernia repair surgery in the following situations.

  • Hernias that contain a loop of intestine without blood supply (strangulated hernias) require emergency surgery.
  • Hernias that contain a trapped loop of intestine (incarcerated hernias) need to be repaired as soon as possible to avoid strangulation. Surgery may be scheduled when it is convenient if strangulation does not appear likely.
  • In healthy adults, hernias that can be pushed back into the abdomen and are not causing discomfort or pain can be repaired when it is convenient. In some cases small, painless hernias may never need to be repaired.

The following people may not be able to have hernia surgery or may choose not to have surgery.

  • People with chronic illnesses may decide against surgery if hernias are not incarcerated or strangulated. It usually is appropriate to repair a hernia. But a balance of length of life, how much the hernia is bothering you, and your wishes will be taken into account.
  • People with cirrhosis often have fluid in the abdomen (ascites) that increases abdominal pressure and causes the hernia to recur after it is repaired. Some surgeons advise people with cirrhosis not to have hernia surgery.
  • Men who have extreme difficulty urinating because of an enlarged prostate should have the prostate problem fixed before having hernia repair surgery.
  • People who have had radiation treatments to the groin area may have poor healing and a higher risk of the hernia coming back.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
Last Revised November 15, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Classes & Events

  • Sep
    22
    Monday
    5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
    This class will focus on the health benefits of fresh juice and smoothies.
  • Sep
    22
    Monday
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a powerful program that teaches how to live directly with your moment-by-moment life experiences in affirming way.
  • Sep
    22
    Monday
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    In this orientation, you will learn about the history, science, risks and benefits of attending to your life, moment-by-moment. You'll experience a sample MBSR class, including experiential practice and class exploration about this life-affirming approach.

Section Links

Health Library