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Hernia Facts

Mesh Advisory Statement for Patients

Practice advisories reflect the consensus of American Hernia Society and its leadership. Practice advisories are not intended to establish clinical practice guidelines, to reflect standards of practice for surgeons or to provide medical advice or make any claim concerning the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease or condition of any person. Practice advisories may not be updated to reflect changes in surgical practice occurring after their approval date.

Frequently Asked Questions

I think I have a hernia but I am not sure. Is it appropriate to see a hernia surgeon?

Hernias can occur in a variety of body areas, such as in the abdomen, pelvis and torso. The symptoms of a hernia can vary from patient to patient. Seeking consultation from your primary care physician or provider is the most appropriate first step in your evaluation. Seeking additional consultation from a hernia surgeon can help provide you with more information. Many times, hernias do not require an operation, and your hernia surgeon can help guide you as to the indication for an operation or for watchful waiting.

I have read a lot online and am afraid of the risks of hernia repair. What should I do?

Your hernia surgeon should be your source to help clarify the information you read online. Patients are different in their condition, risk factors and potential surgical needs. Find a surgeon you trust and get your concerns directly addressed, as your surgeon can help you tailor your treatment plan to your needs.

How do I know if my surgeon is a hernia specialist?

A hernia specialist is a surgeon with a special interest in hernias and with experience treating a variety of hernias. You can Find a Hernia Surgeon through the American Hernia Society website. A surgeon member of the American Hernia Society has a special interest in caring for patients with hernias, but this does not mean all surgeon members have similar expertise. Take care to research your condition and the individual surgeon's experience by asking questions during your consultation.

If have an appointment with my surgeon. What questions should I ask my hernia surgeon?

Prior to your consultation with a hernia surgeon, you should ensure the surgeon is licensed and board certified. You can confirm your surgeon is licensed for free through your state's Medical Board and board certified for free through the American Board of Medical Specialties website. During your appointment with your hernia surgeon, come prepared to ask questions about your surgeon's experience in treating your condition. This can include asking your physician about their experience with dealing with your type of hernia. 

What are some resources online for me to learn more about my hernia condition?

The AHS does not promote any one site for hernia information. Well-regarded online sites to read about simple hernia conditions can be found on WebMDWikipedia and sites hosted by major universities. For questions about your particular situation or more complex situations, you can join the discussion forum on HerniaTalk.

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