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Hernia repair for obese patient... please please help

I am trying to encourage my mother to get her hernia repaired. She has had her hernia for about 20 years. She is now obese and the hernia is so big, it honestly goes down to her knee caps. My questions are:

-Can this really be repaired when the hernia is so big? Will they have to resection some of the intestines?
-What are the risks for an obese patient to have the surgery?
-What are the risks for an obese patient to NOT have the surgery?
-Can the repair be done laproscopically (sp?) or will she have to have a large incision? I worry about her recovery time.

ANY advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

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replied April 10th, 2011
Unfortunately, significant obesity increases the risk of surgical complications, as well as hernia recurrence. Since I cannot examine your mother, I really cannot offer any specific medical advice to her/you.

The most significant risk of unrepaired hernias is that one or more loops of intestine may become obstructed (or even gangrenous) within the hernia. Fortunately, this doesn't happen very often, especially in patients with very large hernias.

She should be seen by a surgeon with particular expertise in managing complex hernias in high-risk patients. The surgeon can then further advise you and your mother regarding the likely risks and benefits of surgery in her specific case.


Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Author, "A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race"

A landmark, evidence-based guide to a healthy cancer-prevention lifestyle, based on cutting-edge cancer research.
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