Why Do I Need An Abdominal Binder For A Hernia?

Recently, we have been getting many questions about abdominal binders, also called an abdominal truss or sometimes a hernia truss or belt. There is some confusion about the different types of binders available, their purpose, when they should or should not be used, and how to use them.

Some of the recent FAQs include:

  • Do you use an abdominal binder for an inguinal hernia after surgery?
  • Will using an abdominal binder for an umbilical hernia help me avoid surgery?
  • Does using an abdominal binder for incisional hernia repair help you recover faster?

This article will answer these questions and should clear up some of the confusion about abdominal binders for hernias, what they are, the types of binders available, and when they should be used. To understand the purpose of an abdominal hernia binder you will need to know a bit about hernias.

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What Is A Hernia?

Hernias are a common occurrence that can affect men or women. A hernia happens when abdominal muscles that have become weak, stretched thin, or torn, become separated allowing abdominal tissue (intestines) to protrude through the opening when pressure is put on these weak areas.

Most hernias are visible from the outside and usually bulge or protrude more when pressure is exerted on the abdominal muscles such as when lifting something heavy. There are four common types of hernias.

Inguinal Hernias
These occur when part of an intestine or the bladder bulges through the wall of the abdomen or groin (the inguinal canal). They occur mostly in men because their groin area is naturally vulnerable. 96% of inguinal hernias occur in the groin area.
Incisional Hernias
This type of hernia occurs when previous surgery has weakened the abdominal muscles along the incision line and intestinal tissue pushes through this weak area and out through the abdominal wall.
Femoral Hernias
Most common in women (especially if pregnant or obese), femoral hernias happen when a weak spot in the abdominal muscle allows intestinal tissue to protrude into the femoral artery canal located in the upper thigh.
Umbilical Hernias
These occur around the belly button when part of the small intestine pushes through the abdominal wall. They are common in newborns and often affect obese women or after multiple pregnancies.

What Is An Abdominal Binder?

Abdominal binders are referred to by many different names, including trusses, girdles, compression garments, abdominal belts, etc. The name may vary by purpose, and where the garment is worn, or can also be different depending on geographic location.

The efficacy of an abdominal binder after hernia surgery was much debated until recent years when a randomized trial that ran from May 2019 through December 2020, tested the effectiveness of wearing an abdominal binder after hernia repair surgery.

Participants wore the binders for 14 days after hernia surgery and the study concluded that the patients who wore the binders experienced less post-operative pain and swelling than the control group.

Can Using An Abdominal Binder Help Cure A Hernia?

The short answer is no, an abdominal binder does not fix a hernia. It is important to understand when and how you should wear an abdominal binder. There are two types of circumstances that would prompt the use of an abdominal binder that are related to hernias.

1. Abdominal binder helps contain a hernia and prevent further damage until surgery can be performed
An individual who has a hernia but can not have it surgically repaired immediately might use a hernia truss temporarily to prevent further damage or complications. It is important to understand that the truss is not an alternative to having the hernia surgically repaired but only a temporary short-term solution.
2. Abdominal binder promotes proper healing after hernia repair surgery
Using an abdominal binder after an incisional hernia repair or another type of hernia repair will help control pain during recovery. It also provides support to the area that was repaired, giving it sufficient time to heal while protecting the new repair from pressure.

Why Is An Abdominal Binder Used After Hernia Surgery?

A hernia belt is another name for an abdominal compression binder and is used after hernia surgery. An abdominal hernia belt is used to help mitigate swelling, alleviate pain and protect a newly repaired hernia from sudden movements and pressure resulting from incidents such as coughing or sneezing.

The surgeon will provide instructions about when and how to wear the binder and how tightly it should be worn. They are meant to fit securely but not too tight so the area still receives adequate circulation. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may need to wear the abdominal hernia binder for several weeks or up to a few months.

Finding the best abdominal binder after hernia surgery is fairly straightforward and will depend on the type of hernia repair that was performed. Usually, the surgeon that performed the repair will recommend the correct garment that will provide the best support for your purposes. There are three basic garments that can be obtained for use after hernia surgery.

Hernia Underwear
Hernia underwear is designed to be comfortable but also provides compression and is usually used as an abdominal binder for inguinal hernias (groin hernias).
Hernia Trusses
A hernia truss can offer temporary relief from hernia pain and additional padding for one hernia or multiple hernias. They also come with additional support for scrotal fixtures. Hernia trusses are usually fitted with pieces made of metal or hard plastic that are meant to sit directly above the herniated area. These are designed for patients who are waiting for surgery to repair hernias and should not be used long-term.
Hernia Binders
Similar to a hernia truss, abdominal binders are the most common type of garment used after a hernia repair. They can be used for umbilical hernias, incisional hernias, and inguinal hernias providing support, pain relief, and helping during recovery from a hernia repair.

Can An Abdominal Binder Or Truss Make A Hernia Worse?

Hernia trusses that are worn to help protect and alleviate pain before hernia surgery should be used only under a doctor’s supervision. A truss should not be used indefinitely instead of surgery because this can lead to complications that can become serious.

If used improperly, abdominal binders can cause serious complications and should be used primarily after a hernia repair, during the recovery period, and according to the surgeon’s directions.

Wearing a hernia truss before the hernia has been repaired, can cause complications. The herniated tissue must be pushed completely back in through the abdominal opening before securing the truss in place. If any of the escaping tissue is trapped and pinched by the truss (strangulated) It can damage the tissue (intestine) requiring emergency medical attention.

If you are currently experiencing a hernia that requires repair contact IBI Healthcare Institute today. Our team of highly-skilled professionals can alleviate your hernia pain and help you avoid a potential medical emergency.

Our Advanced Hernia Center is conveniently located and equipped with state-of-the-art Class C operating theaters. Contact us today to set up a consultation and get all your hernia questions answered.

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