Of all chronic diseases, hernias are the most common. For example, in Germany each year some 275,000 people develop an inguinal hernia and almost 100,000 people abdominal wall hernias. Hernias develop because of disease-induced gaps in the abdominal wall or diaphragm through which a hernial sac composed of a lining called the peritoneum can protrude because of the internal abdominal pressure. Abdominal structures, such as intestinal loops, can enter this hernial sac, hence every hernia in principle poses a risk of constriction and life-threatening strangulation of internal organs. The risk of strangulation is around between 1–3 % per year. For that reason every effort should be made to carry out hernia surgery at an early stage.
Despite the high frequency of such surgical hernia procedures, unfortunately, the overall results for Germany on the whole are not at all satisfactory. For example, the recurrence rate and the rate of chronic pain following inguinal hernia surgery is above 10 %. For that reason surgeons who are especially experienced in hernia surgery have come together in the non-commercial company Herniamed to develop and implement specific quality standards for treatment of hernias. The cornerstone of this endeavour is strict quality assurance with documentation of all details related to the hernia operations performed and evaluation of treatment results over a period of 10 years. That hernia surgical techniques can be improved through strict quality assurance is something we know thanks to scientific studies carried out in Scandinavia.
This Patient Info document is one element aimed at treatment of hernia diseases in line with the dictates of quality assurance. It is intended as a means of giving you, the patient, an overview of the various examination and treatment possibilities for hernia, so that you are optimally informed about your disease. However, it is, of course, not intended as a substitute for a talk with your doctor. But the information presented here will help you and your doctor decide during a medical consultation on the best form of treatment for your condition
On behalf on the Herniamed Quality Assurance Study, I hope your treatment will prove a success and wish you speedy recovery!
Prof. Dr. med. Ferdinand Köckerling
Herniamed Quality Assurance Study
c/o Klinik für Chirurgie - Visceral- and Gefäßchirurgie
Zentrum für Minimal Invasive Chirurgie
Neue Bergstraße 6
Tel. + 49 (0) 30/130 13 2151
Fax + 49 (0) 30/130 13 2154