Obesity has always been hard on people. The increased fat accumulation of the body apart from causing many co-morbid conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, etc., can also lead to many medical issues at times and one such issue can be Hernia. If an obese person already has Hernia, it makes the Hernia more complicated. Let us explore.
Increased Obesity Causes Hernia
Obese people have always been vulnerable to Hernia. Being obese can increase the pressure on the abdominal muscles. This increased strain on the abdominal muscles is due to the layers and layers of additional fat which makes the abdominal wall weaker. Additionally the fat deposited in the internal organ of an obese person is also very high. This can also contribute to additional pressure. The weaker abdominal wall can give way and make the obese person vulnerable to abdominal wall hernia. The probability of developing hernia in multiple places on the abdominal wall is also very high for obese individuals.
What if Hernia is Already Present in Obese Individuals?
Sometimes Hernia may already be present in obese individuals. Because they are obese, the presence of Hernia can go undetected most of the time. The chances that Hernia is detected in acute condition are therefore high. If the condition becomes acute it signals that the intestine has been trapped in the hernia layer. This trapping of intestine can lead to intestinal part becoming dead and developing gangrene. The patient develops severe pain as a result and has to be hospitalized and surgically treated immediately if they attain this stage.
Solution to Hernia in Obese Individuals
The solution for all type of hernia for obese or non-obese person is only surgery. There is no other option available as the hernia condition does not simply go away.
Challenges of Hernia Surgery in Obese Individuals
- To clear the body the layers and layers of fat to repair the Hernia itself is a challenge to the surgeons.
- Once the stitches are done, at times the stitches cannot hold properly due to the constant pressure exerted on the abdominal wall. Also the stitches cannot hold on the fat which itself is a bigger challenge.
- The Hernia mesh too can get displaced easily for people who are overweight. This displacement is mainly because of the pressure on the abdominal wall despite proper fixation of Hernia mesh by the surgeon.
All the above factors can contribute to Hernia recurring in obese individuals.
Other Challenges in Obese Individuals
- Generally longer operating time for obese individuals.
- The wound healing after the surgery takes more time in obese individuals.
- Higher rates of infection in the hernia. This is because bleeding is very high and when the wound is healing the fat around the hernia mesh area might melt and form seroma or fluid collection. The seroma so formed can disrupt the mesh or cause infection.
- General anaesthesia might be recommended by the anaesthetist even if the surgery is carried a open procedure.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.