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Inguinal hernia repair improves patients' general health compared with watchful waiting

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 14 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0-e

Research question Should asymptomatic inguinal hernias be repaired?

Answer Possibly. Surgery improves the general health of patients, without increasing the risk of long term pain.

Why did the authors do the study? Inguinal hernia repair has been associated with long term chronic pain, and a risk of recurrence of up to 10%. These authors wanted to investigate whether patients with asymptomatic hernias would do better if they were simply kept under observation.

What did they do? They recruited 160 men with asymptomatic inguinal hernias, all aged > 55 years, for a randomised controlled trial of hernia repair or watchful waiting. The trial lasted one year and was based in a single surgical department. …

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