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Hernia

The bulging of an internal organ through a weak area or tear in the muscle or other tissue that holds it in place.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Late versus early surgical correction for congenital diaphragmatic hernia in newborn infants

No clear evidence about when to perform surgery to correct congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a rare but often fatal condition. It occurs when a newborn baby's diaphragm has a defect in it that allows abdominal organs (such as the stomach or liver) to enter the chest and displace the lung and heart. Surgery can correct the defect, but damage to the lung may be so severe that the baby still cannot survive. It has been thought that correcting the defect was so urgent that emergency surgery should be performed within the first 24 hours following birth, but more recent thinking suggests that a period of stabilization before surgery could help the lung develop. Only two trials have been done, and these provide no clear evidence to support delayed surgery over emergency surgery.

Using wound drains after incisional hernia repair

Incisional hernias are caused by the failure of the wall of the abdomen to close after abdominal surgery. This leaves a hole through which the viscera (guts) protrude. Hernias are repaired with further surgery, during which the insertion of a drain to remove excess fluid is common practice. It is not known whether or not these drains help the wounds to heal. Drains may produce undesired results such as an increased risk of infection, pain, and an increased length of hospital stay after surgery. We reviewed all the available trial evidence to see whether drains help or hinder recovery after operations for incisional hernia repair. We found that no trials that compared people who had drains inserted for this type of surgery against those who did not. One trial compared two types of drain against each other, and both models of drain performed similarly well. Further trials need to be carried out before being able to answer the question about the benefits, or otherwise, of drains inserted during repair of incisional hernias.

Administration of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective inguinal hernia repair cannot be universally recommended.

The use of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective hernia repair is currently a controversial issue. Although elective hernia repair is considered a clean procedure, the rate of postoperative wound infection in many countries exceeds the one expected for clean surgery, increasing discomfort in patients and health care expenses. In addition, antibiotics administration is not exempt of potential risks.

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Summaries for consumers

Late versus early surgical correction for congenital diaphragmatic hernia in newborn infants

No clear evidence about when to perform surgery to correct congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a rare but often fatal condition. It occurs when a newborn baby's diaphragm has a defect in it that allows abdominal organs (such as the stomach or liver) to enter the chest and displace the lung and heart. Surgery can correct the defect, but damage to the lung may be so severe that the baby still cannot survive. It has been thought that correcting the defect was so urgent that emergency surgery should be performed within the first 24 hours following birth, but more recent thinking suggests that a period of stabilization before surgery could help the lung develop. Only two trials have been done, and these provide no clear evidence to support delayed surgery over emergency surgery.

Using wound drains after incisional hernia repair

Incisional hernias are caused by the failure of the wall of the abdomen to close after abdominal surgery. This leaves a hole through which the viscera (guts) protrude. Hernias are repaired with further surgery, during which the insertion of a drain to remove excess fluid is common practice. It is not known whether or not these drains help the wounds to heal. Drains may produce undesired results such as an increased risk of infection, pain, and an increased length of hospital stay after surgery. We reviewed all the available trial evidence to see whether drains help or hinder recovery after operations for incisional hernia repair. We found that no trials that compared people who had drains inserted for this type of surgery against those who did not. One trial compared two types of drain against each other, and both models of drain performed similarly well. Further trials need to be carried out before being able to answer the question about the benefits, or otherwise, of drains inserted during repair of incisional hernias.

Administration of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective inguinal hernia repair cannot be universally recommended.

The use of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective hernia repair is currently a controversial issue. Although elective hernia repair is considered a clean procedure, the rate of postoperative wound infection in many countries exceeds the one expected for clean surgery, increasing discomfort in patients and health care expenses. In addition, antibiotics administration is not exempt of potential risks.

See all (43)

Terms to know

Herniated Disc (Slipped Disk)
A potentially painful problem in which the hard outer coating of the disk is damaged, allowing the disk's jelly-like center to leak and cause irritation to adjacent nerves.
Hiatal Hernia
Occurs when the upper part of the stomach slips through the diaphragm and moves up into the chest. The diaphragm is the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest.
Inguinal Hernia
A condition in which intra-abdominal fat or part of the small intestine bulges through a weak area in the lower abdominal muscles.
Muscles
Muscles function to produce force and motion. They are primarily responsible for maintaining and changing posture, locomotion, as well as movement of internal organs, such as the contraction of the heart and the movement of food through the digestive system.
Organ
A part of the body that has a specific function, such as the lungs.
Tissue
A group of cells that act together to carry out a specific function in the body. Examples include muscle tissue, nervous system tissue (including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves), and connective tissue (including ligaments, tendons, bones, and fat). Organs are made up of tissues.

More about Hernia

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Herniated structure, Herniated tissue, Herniation

Other terms to know: See all 6
Herniated Disc (Slipped Disk), Hiatal Hernia, Inguinal Hernia

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