Inguinal (Groin) Hernia
Inguinal hernias, hernias that occur in the groin, may become evident at any age. Elderly patients are not particularly susceptible to, nor are they particularly protected from, this problem. An inguinal hernia is the protrusion of a loop or more of the intestine through a weakened area in the abdominal wall. Increased intraabdominal pressure, usually a result of straining, causes this protrusion.
Unless it is very large, a hernia represents only a potential problem instead of an immediate difficulty. The potential problem is that of a loop of intestine becoming entrapped in the hernia, called incarceration. On occasion this trapped loop of intestine may become squeezed and the blood supply cut off, with the possibility of perforation of the intestinal wall. This is called strangulation. Strangulation usually results in obstruction of flow down the intestine. Should a perforation occur, it causes infection in the abdominal cavity, called peritonitis. Complications of this sort are true surgical emergencies that threaten the life of the individual. Controversy regarding the treatment of hernias has to do with when and how to repair the defect in the abdominal wall if there are no complications. All hernias should be repaired if the patient’s other medical problems do not present an unusual risk.
Important Points in Treatment
Hernia repair is by operation with the use of a general anesthetic or with simple local anesthetic applied only to desensitize the area of the surgery. If the hernia is without complications and not large, it is possible for this sort of operation to be done as 1-day surgery on an outpatient basis. Short-stay surgery provides for rapid rehabilitation of the patient and decreases the possibility of other complications that occur after surgery, such as the development of blood clots in the legs. The ability of a patient to tolerate 1-day surgery is in part related to the presence of other health problems. Your physician is your best guide.
Notify Our Office If ...
- You have a hernia that is always present.
- You have pain or tenderness in a hernia.