When should I consult a doctor about getting hernia surgery?

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

If you suspect you have a hernia, your first plan of action should be to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Hernias will not go away on their own, so it is important to meet with a trained physician who can evaluate your case and help develop a treatment plan specific to you.

If left untreated, a hernia can cause a rare but serious complication called strangulation. Strangulation can occur when a loop of the intestine or tissue becomes trapped inside the hernia and is cut off from your blood supply.

If you know you have a hernia and develop any of the following symptoms, please see immediate emergency care:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Blood in your stool
  • Unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas

How long is appropriate to wait before getting hernia repair surgery?

In cases where the hernia is very small and not causing symptoms, you may be able to monitor and treat with lifestyle changes and medical care for a short period before needing surgery. It’s important to understand, however, that delaying surgery will allow the hernia to grow and muscles will likely become weaker. This will make surgery and recover more difficult.

Each patient’s situation is different, so it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for best timeframe to have your hernia surgery.

Fortunately, hernia repair surgery is typically highly successful, and the possibility of a recurrence of is very low overall. In fact, at the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), our complication rates are:

  • < 1% of patients returned to the operating room
  • < 1% of patients were readmitted to the hospital
  • < 1% of patients had a subsequent hernia

What type of doctor treats hernias?

Your primary care provider can diagnose a hernia. In most cases, your doctor will refer you to a general surgeon for a surgery evaluation.

A general surgeon is trained to provide surgical care for most of the body, including the gastrointestinal track, the abdomen and its contents, breast, skin and soft tissue, and endocrine system. General surgeons are trained to make a diagnosis and offer preoperative, operative, and postoperative care for the patient.

The full scope of what a general surgeon treats will vary depending on location. Some general surgeons do a vast range of surgeries, while others choose to focus on certain specialties.

At the Hernia Center of NGMC, our surgeons specialize in hernias. Each surgeon performs between 15 to 30 hernia surgeries a month. This means by choosing the Hernia Center of NGMC, you are getting surgeons who are highly experienced and offer the highest quality surgical care possible. In fact, our surgeons at the Hernia Center have been recognized by Surgical Review Corporation for their quality outcomes and expertise.

Next Steps

Call 770-219-4040 or visit the Hernia Center of NGMC website to schedule your appointment.