General and Gastrointestinal Surgery


A recurrent hernia is one that occurs at the site of a previous hernia repair. It is a measure by which the efficacy of a hernia repair is judged. Specialized centers that perform hernia repairs exclusively often report that their recurrence rates are less than one percent. While that may be true, the follow-up of patients treated in these centers is often not as accurate as those treated at a local hospital. Why? Patients who go to these specialized centers often travel for some distance to get there. If they have a recurrence they are not likely to return.

Based on statistics, it is estimated that the true recurrence rate for hernias is closer to 5 percent and may be as high as 10 percent. A recurrent hernia is not necessarily the fault of the patient or the surgeon. Some recurrent hernias are completely different from the original one. 

Reasons for recurrence include:

  • A generalized weakness in the tissues

  • Other illnesses the individual has, such as diabetes, that impair wound healing

  • Heavy lifting

  • An inadequate original hernia repair

Data suggests that it is not worth worrying about a recurrent hernia to the extent that a patient modify his/her lifestyle to avoid getting one