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Hernia (cont.)

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Should all abdominal hernias be repaired?

In general, hernias that are at risk for complications, that cause pain, or that limit activity should be repaired. If they are not repaired, there is a risk that an emergency surgical procedure may be required at a later date.

Sometimes, a hernia can be temporarily controlled by wearing a belt-like device that applies external compression, which pushes the tissues back into the abdomen and holds them there. This device is called a truss. The truss must be carefully applied on a daily basis. It should only be used for selected situations following careful evaluation by a doctor.

How can a person determine if a lump or swelling is an abdominal hernia?

Not all lumps or swellings on the abdominal wall or in the groin are hernias. People should have such lumps or swellings examined by a doctor. Other possible causes include benign or malignant tumors or enlarged lymph nodes. These problems require entirely different types of evaluation and treatments; self-diagnosis may be incorrect and delay needed treatments.

Reviewed by:

John A. Daller, MD

American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Erickson, Kimberly McCrudden, et al. "Abdominal Hernias." 19 Sept. 2011. <>.

Khan, Ali Nawaz, et al. "Hiatal Hernia Imaging." 25 May 2011. <>.

Stylopoulos, Nicolas, and David W. Rattner. "The History of Hiatal Hernia Surgery: From Bowditch to Laparoscopy." Annals of Surgery 241.1 (2005): 185-193.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2016

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