Do You Need Surgery for an Inguinal Hernia? The Top Facts You Should Know

Inguinal hernias are a common medical condition that can occur when a portion of a person’s intestine (or their abdominal tissue) starts to protrude through a weak area or spot in the inguinal canal, which is a passageway in the lower abdominal wall.

This condition can cause discomfort and pain, as we very well know, and one of the most pressing questions individuals face when diagnosed with an inguinal hernia is whether surgery is necessary.

But what are the top facts you should know about inguinal hernias, and is surgery a requisite solution for you?

Understanding inguinal hernias

Experts in hernia surgery in London from LSG (London Surgical Group) point out, an inguinal hernia can develop due to factors like genetic predisposition, heavy lifting, chronic coughing, obesity, or pregnancy.

It typically manifests as a bulge in the groin area that may become more noticeable or pronounced when standing, coughing, or lifting. Some hernias may not cause pain and can be easily pushed back into place, but others can lead to significant discomfort.

Conservative management

But not all inguinal hernias require surgery right away.

Small, painless hernias that aren’t enlarged and easily reducible may be managed conservatively. Wearing a supportive truss or belt can help hold the hernia in place and alleviate discomfort, but this is considered a temporary solution and doesn’t treat the underlying issue.

Risk of complications

Leaving an inguinal hernia untreated can lead to various complications. For example, incarceration occurs when the hernia becomes trapped and cannot be pushed back in, causing intense pain and discomfort.

This condition can further progress to strangulation, where the blood supply to the herniated tissue is cut off, leading to tissue damage and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Therefore, close monitoring of the hernia’s size and any changes in symptoms is crucial.

Surgical repair

Surgery is often recommended to repair inguinal hernias, especially when they cause pain, grow larger, or become incarcerated. There are two main types of surgery: open hernia repair and laparoscopic hernia repair.

A small cut is made near the hernia site during open surgery, and the protruding tissue is pushed back into place or removed. Laparoscopic surgery involves making several small incisions and using a tiny camera and surgical tools to repair the hernia.

Benefits of surgery

Surgery not only corrects the hernia but also reduces the risk of complications. It provides a more permanent solution by strengthening the weakened abdominal wall with sutures or mesh, lowering the chances of recurrence.

Additionally, surgery can relieve pain and discomfort associated with the hernia and improve your overall quality of life.

Return to Activities

Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery and your overall health.

In general, open surgery may require a longer recovery period compared to laparoscopic surgery. Most people can resume light activities within a few days and return to normal routines within a few weeks after surgery.

However, heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for a longer period to ensure proper healing.


While surgery is effective and safe for most individuals, certain factors might increase the risks associated with the procedure.

These factors include advanced age, smoking, obesity, and pre-existing medical conditions. It’s essential to discuss your medical history and any concerns with your provider before deciding on surgery.