5. Risks and Benefits

The rationale for surgery is to reduce the symptoms caused by hernias, potential complications from surgery as hernias grow bigger and to remove the unpredictable risk of strangulation. However all options do carry some risk.

Watchful waiting

Hernias do tend to get larger over time and in this case subsequent surgery can be more difficult and associated with higher risk of complications.  The risk of strangulation is unpredictable.  Some studies have suggested that this may be significantly less than 1% per year whilst others have suggested that subsequent emergency surgery for strangulated hernias is associated with a high risk of complications and death.

Surgery

Complications and outcomes following surgery appear to differ greatly between surgical centres.  However in competent hands hernia surgery is a routine operation and significant complications only occur occasionally.  The quoted risks below are taken from published studies, for our complication rate, please follow this link (to add link to hernia audit when completed)

Complications include:

Each of the above should be in the order of 1-2% and studies suggest that in competent hands the risks are the same whether the surgery is undertaken laparoscopically or using an open technique.

 

General Anaesthesia versus Local Anaesthesia

Laparoscopic surgery cannot be undertaken under local anaesthetic, which some patients prefer.

Go to page 6: What to Expect

Nicholas Boyle

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Julie Wood
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