Category: 

What is an Incarcerated Hernia?

A doctor can review an x-ray for signs of an incarcerated hernia.
Incarcerated hernias may cause obstruction in the intestines.
An incarcerated hernia requires surgery.
Incarcerated hernias are a type of strangulated hernia that usually involves the bowels, and are considered surgical emergencies.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The highest reliably recorded surface temperature in the world was in Death Valley at 134 F (57 C).  more...

August 20 ,  1955 :  Hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.  more...

An incarcerated hernia is a type of hernia characterized by the fact that the herniated tissue becomes trapped in the hernial sack. Most commonly, this type of hernia presents as an abdominal hernia involving the bowels. Incarcerated hernias are considered surgical emergencies, and they require immediate medical treatment to avoid serious complications.

Hernias occur when organs bulge through the connective tissue which normally protects them and keeps them in place. The resulting bulge is known as a hernial sack, and it includes layers of connective tissue along with the herniated organ. People can often feel hernias from the outside in the case of abdominal hernias, because the hernia breaks through the abdominal wall.

In a reducible hernia, herniated material can move freely in and out of the hernial sack. This can cause pain and assorted complications, but it is not an immediate threat. Incarcerated hernias, on the other hand, involve tissue which becomes trapped, which means that the blood supply could potentially be cut off as the herniated material is squeezed. In the case of hernias involving the intestines, the intestines can become obstructed in an incarcerated hernia, causing nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

Ad

If the blood supply to an incarcerated hernia is cut off, the hernia becomes strangulated. Strangulated hernias are very dangerous, because the tissue can die, causing gangrene to develop. The loop of bowel in a classic strangulated hernia must usually be removed, with the remaining sections of bowel being carefully reattached. Recovery time from such a surgery can be lengthy, as the repaired section of the bowel will need to heal along with the site of the herniation.

Surgery is the only option for repairing an incarcerated hernia. Once a surgeon cuts into the patient and sees the contents of the hernial sack, he or she can determine whether or not it will be possible to save the herniated tissue. In some cases, it may need to be cut away entirely due to tissue damage, while in other instances, it may be possible to carefully extricate the material and repair it before repositioning it. The earlier a patient goes for treatment of an incarcerated hernia, the better the prognosis.

A reducible hernia can quickly become incarcerated, which is why surgery is recommended for reducible hernias, even if they are not causing pain or discomfort for the patient. A prompt hernia repair will ensure that the organ involved does not experience permanent damage, and it will reduce pain and suffering in the long term by preventing the emergence of complications.

Ad

Discuss this Article

AshleyHarper
Post 15

I haven't heard of this type of hernia before. The hernia I know most about is abdominal hernia as my father had that once. Then I have heard about inguinal hernias and umbilical hernias. Thank you for this article explaining a different kind of hernia.

anon937912
Post 14

I don't know much about those hernia other than abdominal hernia. But I know one thing: that hernias can be really painful. And the few days following the hernia surgery can be really difficult. I have had hernia and subsequently surgery. The doctors and other staff really helped me in overcoming the pain.

mstrunn
Post 13

I disagree with the statement that reducible hernias develop into incarcerated hernias; that is not very often the case. If the reducible hernia is small, the surgeon can manually push the hernia back into the abdominal wall during surgery. In many cases, a watch and wait procedure can be employed if the hernia is small and not causing any significant problems. An irreducible hernia is another story, as many have commented, this can lead to problems.

anon337552
Post 12

I've had different kinds of hernia surgeries for more than six years. I don't know why they keep coming out. In May, they had to open my body again to fix a huge abdominal hernia and when the doctor opened me up, he found more than five hernias. The pain was very bad; it was worse than the other hernia pain. I'm still home, with pain because he had to open me from the top of my stomach to the beginning of my private part. And he put "staples" in. I don't know what to do to avoid having more hernias. Good luck for the ones who have been through this horrible experience.

anon336563
Post 11

I agree with the 120002 post 3. My incarcerated hernia kicked in so quickly and was so so painful. One moment I was enjoying my very late Sunday dinner and within 15-20 minutes, I was in absolute agony. I knew something was seriously wrong as the pain was got worse so quickly.

For the first time in my life I called 999, and after 20 minutes of waiting I called 999 again only to be told that I was on the low priority list and that the ambulance might be with me in an hour or so, but by then I was in so much pain I couldn't stand up, and to be honest, I didn't have the energy to argue with the guy on the phone. Luckily my neighbour rushed me to A&E in his car, and once there I was seen immediately. It took a while to establish what the problem was but once diagnosed, I had emergency surgery a few hours later and made a full recovery. This, by the way, happened five days after a car crash that I thought I had escaped any injury from.

anon319800
Post 9

I had an incarcerated hernia operation over the holidays. Everybody said it would be a simple in and out surgery. Yes, the surgery went pretty well. However, the pain was pretty intense for the next three weeks. When I thought my wound was healing and the pain subsiding, I would get these unbelievable zings when I turned over in my sleep. The doctor told me that this was normal. Now, two months later, the pain is almost completely gone. Do not lift anything. Even lifting a small item aggravated my healing.

anon234984
Post 8

I just had my incarcerated hernia operated on, and yes the pain was unbearable. I had the hernia for some time, but I had contracted a cough from a cold and the intense coughing cause part of my intestine to be lodged within the hernia. I was fine one moment, then felt a stabbing pain, and within the hour I could not even walk. They had to operate that night.

And I agree with getting a second opinion. I had a doctor look at it about two years ago, and he just gave me an antibiotic which did nothing. Now with all the CT scans and ultrasounds, it's costing about five times as much as it would have if the first doctor had actually known what he was talking about.

anon216696
Post 7

I had this surgery over a month ago and am still having major drainage. The doctor said it is normal but it is really bad!

anon171727
Post 6

I just had emergency surgery on a incarcerated hernia. I can't believe the horrible pain that came with it. Thank god they got it in time and all the tissue was still okay.

anon167432
Post 5

I am scheduled to have a surgery about one week from now. I went to two different doctors. The first one said it was nothing, but not to me with all the pain that I was suffering from and worst of all, I have an 11-month-old son that I cannot lift up or play with.

So I went to another doctor and he told me that it was an incarcerated hernia to the touch. Please be careful and always look for a second opinion whether you trust your doctor or not.

anon152449
Post 4

I recently had hernia surgery and yes, i agree the pain was intense. i nearly passed out. i had been in and out of hospital with the pain. it's the worst i have ever felt and hope never to feel it again. i had to be off work 8 weeks and still now have to take it easy, and i had mine done in oct 2010.

anon120002
Post 3

I recently had emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia. Nowhere in this article could I find mention of the agonizing pain that accompanied the development of the hernia. It started as a mild pain such as a hunger pang. Within 45 minutes, I was an the verge of collapsing into unconsciousness.

ginsberg05
Post 2

While many people are born with abdominal hernias, some may experience them later in life. Any straining of the abdominal cavity may contribute to the creation or worsening of a hernia. Obesity, heavy lifting, straining while using the bathroom, chronic lung disease, and fluid in the abdominal cavity are all possible causations of hernia.

tmacsgirl
Post 1

Those diagnosed with abdominal hernias should avoid any activities that involve a strain to the abdominal region of the body. Coughing, lifting, and/or straining may cause the hernia to increase in size.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email