A team from Glasgow, Scotland, investigated the association between hernia symptoms and the duration the patients had their hernias before surgery.
699 consecutive patients, admitted to two University Departments of Surgery for scheduled operations for an inguinal hernia, were enrolled in the study. Data was prospectively gathered on each subject.
More than one-third (267) of patients had their hernias for 1 year or longer before presentation.
The most common symptom on presentation was pain or discomfort at the hernia site. This occurred in 457 (66%) patients.
|The probability of pain increases to almost 90% at 10 years. |
|Journal of the American College of Surgeons|
The researchers found that the cumulative probability of pain increased with time, to almost 90% at 10 years.
The hernia had become irreducible in 48 patients (7%). The cumulative probability of irreducibility increased from 7% at 12 months to 30% at 10 years.
Leisure activities were affected in 29% of patients. 13% of patients had to take time off work because of hernia-related symptoms.
Only two patients (0.3%) required resection of infarcted bowel or omentum.
Alan Hair, of the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, concluded on behalf of the group, "Many patients with an inguinal hernia are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Prospective clinical trials to assess the role of operations for such hernias are thus required."