Saturday, May 22, 2010

What May Happen to an Untreated Hernia?

Hernias, in a general view, are protrusion of internal organs through a potential space or weakness in the wall containing the organs. Commonly, hernia refers to a groin hernia or inguinal hernia. This is most common of all the hernias; and found in both male and female. Males are more prone to it. A right sided inguinal hernia is more common than a left sided one.  It can be seen at any age, starting from infant to elderly. Other diseases responsible for increase in intra-abdominal pressure may help a hernia formation. Those can be;
In India, patients of inguinal hernia come in late for surgery for various reasons; commonly due to financial constraint, quackery and ignorance. Most of them land in complications associated with untreated long standing inguinal hernias. The most common and life threatening complication is obstructed inguinal hernia.
Hernia contents mainly comprises of intestines, a fatty intra-abdominal apron called omentum; and sometimes urinary bladder and other organs. Complications usually arise due to obstruction to the flow of blood to intestine and obstruction to passage of semi-digested food matter in the lumen of intestine. This occurs due to squeezing action tissue surrounding the potential space through which the hernia sac with contents passes out. There may be death or gangrene of the organs contained in the sac, to be called as a strangulated hernia. Emergency surgery is conducted on such patients and the contents returned inside the abdomen, if can be saved; otherwise are sacrificed to save the life of the patient. Such emergency unscheduled surgeries have inherent problems associated with anaesthesia and general fitness to undergo such procedure.
It is better said; “A stitch in time saves nine”.  
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