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Editorial
January 18, 2006

The Asymptomatic Hernia“If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It”

Author Affiliations
 

Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle. Dr Flum is also Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(3):328-329. doi:10.1001/jama.295.3.328

Inguinal hernia is a common clinical entity, with more than 600 000 herniorrhaphy procedures performed yearly in the United States.1 While hernias are often identified when patients notice groin discomfort, many hernias are discovered by clinicians in patients who have no or few symptoms.2 The natural history of inguinal hernia is not well understood, because most hernias remain undetected and many detected hernias are surgically repaired. An unknown proportion of patients without hernia-related complaints will develop symptoms over time. While all patients with hernias have a risk of developing hernia-related complications such as incarceration or bowel compromise, there has been little evidence to quantify these risks.

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