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Is strangulated hernia a serious condition

Is strangulated hernia a serious condition?

YES – EXTREMELY! Strangulated hernias can prove fatal and is a very serious condition.

It is a surgical emergency. It requires urgent surgical intervention and patients tend to do less well after emergency surgery than they do following planned hernia procedures.

“Mortality risk following elective hernia repair is low, even at an advanced age.
An emergency operation for strangulated hernia carries a substantial mortality risk.”

According to Swedish Research,

In case of an Emergency operation the Risk of Mortality is 7 times higher, while if bowel resection was undertaken, the risk of mortality increased by 20 times.

Evidence shows it is prudent to prevent strangulation and avoid emergency surgery at all cost.

It is absolutely necessary to get hernia treated as soon as possible before this dreaded complication sets in.

What is a strangulated hernia?

Abdominal wall hernias occur because of weakness in the abdominal wall, allowing intestine and other organs (small bowel, large bowel, omentum etc.) to come out through the opening.

Which in turn stops the blood vessels inside the intestine which result in the death of tissues quite rapidly and release of toxins in the blood stream leading to quick deterioration of overall health and can also lead to death.

What warning symptoms will I get?

The warning comes very suddenly, from nothing at all. The first thing to happen is usually acute pain.

That pain rapidly become severe and nothing relieves it. It is common for this onset to be measured in minutes and emergency surgical intervention is required.

Most commonly strangulation occurs in smaller hernias as the large hernias tend to slide in and out easily, and so are at less risk of being shut by the tough structures surrounding the hernia

What should alert you?

Hernia when associated with

  • Sharp or Severe pain
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in Excrement
  • Constipation
  • Malaise with or without a fever
  • A burning or hot sensation around the hernia

How is Strangulated Hernia treated?

A strangulated hernia repair is a Surgical emergency.  

The surgeon’s priority is to save the life, save the organ entrapped and repair the hernia in that order.

‘The entrapped organ is put back where it belongs in the abdominal cavity after it is freed from the tough surrounding structures constituting hernia, which must be done before the tissue is permanently damaged.

Once the entrapped tissues are put back safely where they belong, the proper approach would be to repair the hernia immediately so as to prevent it happening again. Sadly, being an emergency, it is commonly the case that the surgeon would stop just at reliving the obstruction as a prolonged surgical repair of hernia would further endanger the life of the patient. Having ‘reduced’ the hernia the patient is discharged from the hospital in the hope that hernia is repaired at a later stage in a more controlled setting and before it strangulates again.

This is as bad a situation as it sounds.

How can you avoid strangulation of hernia?

Only by getting hernia treated  before it gets that bad.

Strangulation can happen at any time. You do not want strangulation to happen when away on holiday or at any time away from high-quality surgical help.

What should you do if you suspect hernia has strangulated?

If you are experiencing sharp pain, pain which is not getting relieved by oral pain medication, you need to visit or consult a hernia specialist as soon as possible. You need to avoid strangulating of hernia at all costs, that can only be achieved by treating hernia as soon as you are diagnosed with this condition.

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