Preparing for Hernia Surgery

You may know you have a hernia but aren't quite ready to have surgery just yet. Here are some tips and lifestyle modifications you should be thinking about in preparation for the when the time comes to have your hernia repaired.

Weight loss

Overweight and obesity are strong risk factors for both hernia creation and recurrences of hernias.  Patients often present to the office with a new hernia or a hernia that has become more symptomatic after recent weight gain. When we gain weight, usually in the form of fat, that includes intra-abdominal fat (or fat inside of the abdomen). That creates more pressure inside the abdomen forcing contents through the weakest site, which is the hernia. Obesity significantly increases your chances of having your hernia come back after it is repaired.

Weight Loss Tips

Stop smoking

Smoking is a risk factor for hernia formation, recurrence of hernias and wound complications after surgery. Smoking inhibits wound healing and greatly increases the odds of your hernia recurring after it is repaired. Chronic coughing from smoking can also predispose you to recurrence of your hernia.


Various modalities such as patches, gum, and medications are available to aid in the cessation of smoking.

Glycemic Control

You might not realize it, but controlling your blood sugar before and after hernia surgery can influence your outcome. Patients with diabetes mellitis need good glycemic control prior to undergoing hernia repair. You may be asked to have a blood test performed called hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C). This serves as an indicator for longterm glucose levels in the blood stream. In some circumstances it may be necessary to lower this number prior to surgery.  If you have diabetes, please check with your PCP to see what your last A1C was.