Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a weak spot in the abdominal wall that allows internal structures to protrude (“poke out”). Often the symptoms (pain/discomfort) are worsened by lifting and exercise.

Should a hernia be repaired?

Yes, a hernia will not get better without treatment. In general, they tend to get larger and more uncomfortable as time passes. Current recommendation is that all hernias in a healthy patient should be repaired.

What do you take out when you “fix” a hernia?

The hernia contents are reduced (“poked in”) and the weak spot repaired with mesh. Usually, nothing is taken out.

Do you need special tests to diagnose a hernia?

No, in most cases, careful history and physical examination by a qualified surgeon can adequately diagnose a hernia. CT scans, MRIs or ultrasounds are rarely used.

How long does it take to recover?

Tension free mesh inguinal hernia repairs require a period of convalescence. While everyone is different, most can return to “light duty” in 10-14 days and unrestricted activity in 3 weeks.

Can a hernia be repaired as an outpatient?

Yes. It is preferable to have outpatient repair. The vast majority of inguinal hernia repairs are done as outpatients.

What’s the most common area to get a hernia?

Most hernias occur more commonly in the inguinal (groin) area. Other areas include umbilicus or old abdominal incisions.

Can a hernia “come back”?

Yes. Prior to newer techniques, recurrence rates were 5-15%. Using mesh and tension free repairs has lowered this risk to less than 1%.

Are laparoscopic hernia repairs “better”?

No. At present, studies have shown comparable results with recurrence rates. However, cost is increased, general anesthesia is required, unusual complications can occur and return to work is not as impressive as first presented. Laparoscopy has a place in hernia repair, but this newer technique is not a panacea.

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National Hernia Network is a network of hernia care doctors and specialists throughout Florida in Jacksonville, Winter Park, St. Petersburg, Venice, Panama City, and Sarasota.