Hernia Compression Belt Questions and Answers

Hernia Compression Belt Questions and Answers

A hernia is a bulge that occurs when fat or an internal organ pushes through a hole or an opening. Hernias often occur in the abdominal wall. The pain associated with most hernias is not the hernia itself, but the hernia contents such as intestines, protruding through the defect that are being pinched or squeezed.

What is a hernia truss (or belt)?
A hernia truss wraps around the abdomen, fitting tightly to provide support but not so tightly that they cut off circulation to the area. The goal of a compression garment is to provide compression to the area, helping to prevent the bulge from coming out. Additionally, sudden movements like coughing, laughing and sneezing increases the intra-abdominal pressure/tightens the core muscles which causes the fat or intra-abdominal contents to push out through the hernia opening, which causes pain. A truss can help control these sudden movements, by helping the contents not pushout, which decreases pain. If you have an inguinal hernia, a hernia truss can help you feel more comfortable temporarily, but it doesn't treat the hernia.

What's the difference between an inguinal hernia truss (belt) and an inguinal hernia compression garment?
>> The Inguinal Hernia Truss (Belt)

  • A truss is typically a three strap leather appliance typically with a spherical padded hemisphere shape.
  • The truss will typically move away from the hernia site on bending over or with any large lateral movement resulting in readjustment throughout the day.
  •  The hernia truss design has unfortunately not altered since medieval times.

>> The Inguinal Hernia Compression Garment

  • Uses a different variety of cotton/elastane weaves to make up the brief so that direct pressure is only applied next to the hernia site.
  • Because it is a brief, the hernia is always contained and does not need adjustment once worn.
  • Typically has a small foam pad directly over the site of the hernia fitting into a pouch in the front of the brief which adds gentle direct pressure to the site.

Is a hernia truss (belt) safe to use? How long should I wear a hernia belt?
Many patients have used hernia belts safely as a bridge to hernia surgery, for some travel or family plans are unavoidable and surgery is prolonged. When supervised by a physician, the hernia belt can be used to minimize symptoms and the need for immediate surgery. These belts are safe; however, surgery is still the best way to avoid an emergency situation. We recommend the use of a truss as a bridge to, not instead of, surgery. For the truss to work, it must be worn properly so as to not push onto a hernia.  You want to apply the truss while you are laying down and the hernia contents are in. We rarely advise patients with hernia to use a truss because surgery is very effective at curing the hernia. We invite you to come in for an evaluation if you are in the mid-Missouri area and would like to learn about your treatment options.

Is it recommended to wear a hernia truss (belt) after surgery?
If the hernia belt is comfortable after surgery, it is okay to wear, but not required.  Supportive undergarments, like compression shorts are typically comfortable and can help minimize swelling.

Following a laparoscopic hernia operation, the incisions are on the abdomen, so an abdominal binder provides comfort by stabilizing the abdominal wall. An abdominal binder is a very wide or broad elastic belt which is worn around the abdomen.

What is recovery like after an inguinal hernia repair (groin surgery)?
Recovery time can vary from patient to patient. The typical recovery after a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is associated with mild to moderate incisional pain and mild groin discomfort. This may last anywhere from 2 – 14 days, but is almost always gone by the 3rd or 4th week after surgery. By the 3-6 month postoperative visit, less than 0.1% of patients are symptomatic.  The pain may last longer after an open repair or a recurrent hernia repair. Most likely, you will have a lifting restriction of 10-20lbs (about 1-2 gallons of milk) for 4-6 weeks following your procedure. You will want to plan the appropriate recovery time from work if you have a more strenuous job, such as those requiring heavy lifting. Many patients return to desk type work in around 1-2 weeks.

While recovery instructions may be tailored to individualize a plan of care based upon your specific needs, please visit our post-operative instructions by clicking here.

For More Information

To listen to our board certified surgeons answer your most frequently asked hernia questions, please visit our FAQ page.

To Schedule an Appointment

To find out more about Hernia Repair services offered at CSA Surgical Center in Columbia, Missouri please call Columbia Surgical Associates at 573-443-8773 and schedule an appointment with a board-certified general surgeon. Additionally, you can contact our office by filling out and submitting the contact form below. We look forward to meeting you!

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