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FIL hernia advice

(7 Posts)
ooohsopink Mon 03-Aug-15 16:47:48

My 72 year old FIL has an abdominal hernia that he has had repaired twice before, last one in 1984. After each op, he has managed to damage the repair and end up back at square one.

He is very overweight in his stomach area (although pretty slim everywhere else) and extremely unfit, with respiratory problems and hip problems. Most of his health issues are present/exacerbated by his tummy weight. His heart is in good shape however, and he isnt pre-diabetic. He is not bedridden, but isn't particularly active as his hip pain stops him walking distances.

He has just been discharged from an overnight stay in hospital as he is suffering with severe constipation. My DP is worried sick about him and wants his dad to have another hernia repair to improve the quality of his life (easier to walk without big hernia tummy etc) but FIL has decided (without any medical knowledge) that it can't be repaired as the NHS won't attempt it.

Can I ask if anyone has any experience of hernias in the elderly? Is a hernia repair still possible, after two previous attempts? I wonder if technology has moved on in the 30 years since his last operation?

Any advice gratefully received - DP is going to see FIL next week and wants to be armed with facts to enable him to persuade his dad that another try is worth it.

bluebelle2662 Tue 04-Aug-15 20:23:42

72 isn't classed as particularly elderly.

There is no reason that they wouldn't operate, unless the anaesthetist did not believe he was fit enough because of his chest. Repairs can be done laparoscopically (keyhole).

Losing weight would of course make it easier but if it is a real problem for him then they may still operate.


PenguinPoser Tue 04-Aug-15 20:26:41

I don't see why it wouldn't be possible- things have moved on in terms of materials available to do the repair. The best starting point would be for FIL to see his GP and discuss referral to a surgeon to see what they could do. If it would improve his quality of life then age wouldn't be a barrier.

Wolpertinger Wed 05-Aug-15 08:15:15

It is likely to be technically difficult to repair a hernia that has already been repaired twice. Also availability of hernia repair on the NHS has plummeted since 1984 and unless it's causing him a lot of symptoms (constipation prob would not count) a repair, even a first repair, is unlikely.

So your FIL is quite probably correct, especially if most of his tummy is the hernia this is a massive and complex operation. From your post it doesn't sound like this is a normal hernia in the groin but a much more difficult one in this abdomen.

Waitingfordolly Wed 05-Aug-15 08:22:11

My DM has a hernia, the consultant says it's quite big, but he's advised her to manage it by diet, i.e. by only eating small meals, because it's potentially a big operation and often unsuccessful.

WiIdfire Wed 05-Aug-15 08:28:16

This wont be an easy decision. A third time repair will be technically possible but challenging and may be a big operation with a long recovery time. He needs to see a surgeon who can weigh up the risks and benefits and decide if he should have it done.

ooohsopink Fri 07-Aug-15 17:35:19

Thanks for all the advice - very much appreciated.

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