An incarcerated hernia is a hernia that has allowed the contents within the abdominal cavity to bulge out and actually get stuck in that hole. That can either contain fat or it can contain your intestine. When that occurs, it's a quite concerning condition and generally requires immediate surgery to fix. The one thing that we worry about the most with hernias is for the patient to develop an incarceration. By that I mean having their intestine come out through the hole and becoming stuck in that hole and becoming incarcerated. What that does is that it tends to kink off the intestines so that nothing can flow in and out. Worse than that is that the blood flow to the small intestine can also be compromised and if it's not treated within the first 4-6 hours of first becoming noticed, that piece of intestine can actually die and results in much more serious complications.
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