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Influence of Obesity on Hernia – Both Before and After Hernia Surgery

Our abdomen houses many of our internal organs which are protected by a tough outer wall of tissue known as the abdominal wall. When this abdominal wall gets weakened or when it has a defect, fat tissue or organs like intestines can bulge out from its place through this defective wall. Some of the most common causes of hernias are defective inguinal canal (a common birth defect), the scar from previous abdominal surgery, and injuries caused due to any trauma. Can obesity influence hernia before and after the surgery?

Most hernias are not life-threatening and mostly do not require emergency surgery if they are detected early. Hernia surgery is the most effective and successful way of repairing a hernia. Factors like weight gain and obesity can definitely aggravate an existing hernia and even after hernia surgery is done.

Does obesity cause hernia in the first place?

Weight gain or obesity increases the risk of developing abdominal hernias. Being obese or overweight largely increases the strain on the abdominal muscles. This excess strain and pressure on the abdominal muscles for long periods of time can make the abdominal muscles weak and make it prone to hernia. This is particularly true if a person has a defective inguinal canal which can lead to an inguinal hernia and for people who have already undergone any abdominal surgeries which can cause an incisional hernia.

How does obesity affect people with Hernia?

After a hernia is formed, the additional bodyweight contributes to the enlargement of the hernia. Sometimes, this can cause a loop of intestine tissue to get trapped within the muscle tissue causing severe pain that might require immediate surgical treatment. Obesity can also lead to the development of multiple hernias in the muscle wall.

How Obesity Influences Hernia Surgery?

The layers and layers of fat in the abdomen pose a challenge for the surgeons to reach out to the hernia spot. They often find it a challenging task to place a hernia mesh during the surgery.

How does obesity affect people after Hernia Surgery?

Like all surgeries, even hernia repair surgeries have post-surgery risks. But the post-surgery risks are much higher only for people who are obese.

  • People who are obese are more likely to have a recurrence of hernia after hernia repair surgery. This is because the chances of hernia mesh slipping from its intended position are high for obese people. The success rate of hernia surgery is even lesser for severely obese people.
  • Obese people have poor wound healing, which means they are more prone to infections after surgery.
  • Obese people may need to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time after the surgery.
  • They are also more prone to develop blood clots which can further cause several other problems such as ‘Deep Vein Thrombosis’ (DVT) and ‘Pulmonary Embolism’.
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