Key Questions for Patients Considering Hernia Repair
All medical devices and procedures carry certain benefits and risks. Be sure you understand the benefits and risks.
The FDA encourages patients to discuss the surgery with their health care provider including the type of hernia, the treatment options, and the short- and long-term risks and benefits of those options. The following is information for patients considering hernia repair:
Before Surgery: Discuss your situation with your surgeon to determine your best option for hernia repair, including non-surgical and surgical options. Most hernia repair surgeries include the use of implanted surgical mesh. Discuss whether your surgeon plans to use mesh. Some questions you should ask your surgeon include:
- What type of hernia do I have?
- What are the non-surgical and surgical treatment options?
- What are the risks and side effects of this surgery?
- What is the mesh you will be using made of?
- In my case, is it possible to repair the hernia without mesh and if so, what is the expected risk/benefit?
- In my case, if you repair the hernia with mesh, what is the expected risk/benefit?
- What is the risk for hernia recurrence? Pain? Infection? Other complications? Do these risks change depending on the type of mesh that you use?
After Surgery: If mesh is used, consider obtaining information on the manufacturer, brand name, Unique Device Identifier (UDI) and material from your doctor’s office or from the hospital or facility where your surgery was performed. It is helpful to have this information available if you have any post-surgical problems. You may also share that information with health care providers before any imaging examinations such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) procedures. The UDI may help you identify whether subsequent safety information applies to the mesh used and may help you to report an adverse event to the FDA.
Be aware that a hernia recurrence is possible. Be sure you know the symptoms and when to seek evaluation for recurrence.