Surgery remains the ultimate treatment for all types of hernias as they will not get better on their own, however not all require immediate repair. Elective surgery is offered to most patients taking into account their level of pain, discomfort, degree of disruption in normal activity, as well as their overall level of health. Emergency surgery is typically reserved for patients with life-threatening complications of inguinal hernias such as incarceration and strangulation. Incarceration occurs when intra-abdominal fat or small intestine becomes stuck within the canal and cannot slide back into the abdominal cavity either on its own or with manual maneuvers. Left untreated, incarceration may progress to bowel strangulation as a result of restricted blood supply to the trapped segment of small intestine causing that portion to die. Successful outcomes of repair are usually measured via rates of hernia recurrence, pain and subsequent quality of life.
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