Today we will address a very common and a very interesting question which we keep getting through emails and WhatsApp. Sir, I have a hernia. I am too scared to go through a surgery. I have heard somewhere that using a hernia belt can prevent the surgery. I need not get a surgery done. Is it true? How useful is this hernia belt? So let us see this topic today. Hernia belt or a hernia truss.

Table Of Contents

Do Hernia Belts Work?

So, this is basically once you understand what a hernia is, you will understand what a truss is and how hernia is treated. A hernia is basically an intestine coming out through a hole in the abdomen wall. So, it protrudes out through a hole and whenever the patient coughs or strains more and more intestines bulge out. A hernia truss or a belt is a strap which is worn around the groin which has got a thick padded or even a metal int on a front. So, the basic mechanism by which a truss works is, when hernia is pushed inside this belt is tightly worn and the thick metal area or the padded area presses as a stopper on the hole of the hernial defect and thereby keeps the hernia inside it and prevents the hernia from popping out whenever the patient coughs or stains. So, this is how the truss was basically designed.

Can a Hernia Truss Make a Hernia Worse?

This used to be very popular at one time. But as years progressed, we realized this may not be as useful as they were thought to be. Even though the mechanism looks very simple it actually can cause more trouble than good. Why because before anyone wears the tight belt one has to be extremely careful that the hernia, the intestine which has come out in the hernia has to go back completely into the abdomen and then truss has to be applied. If the hernia does not reduce back and the truss is applied tightly over it what can happen.

The intestine which has come partially out can get crushed between the truss and the abdominal muscles. And that can cause damage to the intestine. Secondly, if you continue to wear this compression on the groin region for a long time, like we all know if something is pressing on the skin or the muscle it does not allow good blood supply to reach that area. Because of constant pressure the muscle slowly starts getting thinned out. Why? Already the hernia formed due to weak muscles. Over and above that the truss thins out the muscle further and the muscle becomes weaker and the hernia rather increases in size instead of decreasing.

When & How Should You Wear A Hernia Belt?

Now-a-days, we hardly ever or we do not ever advise patients with hernia to use a truss because surgery is very effective at curing the hernia. If at all one wants to use a truss, there are certain things one has to keep in mind that a truss is a temporary solution to a hernia. Suppose for some reason somebody cannot undergo a surgery immediately and the hernia is repeatedly cause trouble or pain they can use the truss to keep the hernia inside till the time they undergo a surgery. Second, they should understand the correct way of applying a truss. Meaning, before applying the truss the patient is generally asked to lie down so that in the lying down position the hernia returns into the hernia cavity and then the truss is worn tight and the patient gets up. So, these things one should always bear I mind when thinking of using a truss. A truss is not an alternative to surgery. The only effective treatment for hernia is a surgical repair. A truss is only a temporary bridge whenever a surgery is not possible immediately.

Abdominal Binder After Hernia Surgery

At the same time there is something called as the hernia belt which we advice the patients to use. When? This is usually advised following a hernia operation. After the patient undergoes a hernia operation, hernia in the abdominal wall, like a ventral hernia or an incisional hernia or any patient who has undergone a major abdominal surgery. For these patients when they go home, we advice a different type of belt called an abdominal binder. This is a very wide or broad elastic belt which is worn around the abdomen and this gives a good support to the tummy when the patient is recovering from a major operation. So initially when the stitches are raw, the scar is getting strengthened, the patient needs some support from pain. And that is the time when these binders are very useful. So, hernia truss or a hernia belt is not useful before operation but an abdominal binder which is different type of belt is extremely useful for patients who are recovering from a major abdominal surgery or a major ventral hernia surgery.

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February 2023