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Buffalo General Medical Center
100 High Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Hernia Center
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know I have a hernia? 

Most of the time you discover you have a hernia when you experience pain or a bulge with straining, coughing, or lifting.  Sometimes your physician will diagnose a hernia, despite the fact that you have no symptoms.  On rare occasions, you may require radiological tests to diagnose a hernia.

Do hernias go away on their own? 

No, in general they don’t go away since they are a defect in your body.  Over time, they usually get bigger and may become more symptomatic.

Are hernias dangerous? 

Hernias in and of themselves are not dangerous, but they can lead to situations which require immediate surgery.  In rare cases, the intestines can get trapped in the hernia defect and become strangulated, causing diminished blood flow to that part of the intestine.  If this happens, it can become life threatening and immediate surgery is required.

How did I get a hernia? 

Hernias are caused by weakness in your fascia layers that occur with age.  On occasion, hernias arise from an act of heavy lifting that caused too much strain, resulting in a tear.

Will a hernia come back? 

That is a difficult and individual question.  It really depends on the type of hernia and the number of repairs that have been performed.  In general, the majority of hernias that are repaired do not recur.

How does my doctor diagnose a hernia? 

Hernias are usually diagnosed on physical exam but sometimes ultrasound and CT scans can be utilized for further clarification or in cases of an equivocal physical exam.

If surgery is needed, how long will it take and will I have to stay in the hospital overnight? 

For most hernia repairs there is no associated hospital stay.  In some case with complicated hernias there will be overnight stays in the hospital.

How long does recuperation from hernia surgery take? 

Recuperation is dependent on the type of hernia the patient has and the age of the patient.  In general one can expect to be off for two weeks to one month after surgery.

Can I resume my normal activities after recuperation or will I have lifelong restrictions?

The majority of patients will be able to resume full activity after surgery.  In the rare case of an extremely complicated repair we might limit ones activity.