What is the risk of bowel strangulation in an adult with an untreated inguinal hernia?
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The risk of bowel strangulation is estimated to be small--less than 1% per year (strength of recommendation [SOR]: B, based on small cohort studies with short follow-up). Experts recommend repair for patients with risk factors for poor outcomes after potential strangulation. These risk factors include advanced age, limited access to emergency care, significant concomitant illness, inability to recognize symptoms of bowel incarceration, and poor operative risk (American Society of Anesthesiologists class III and IV) (SOR: C, based on expert opinion and case series). It is reasonable to offer elective surgery or watchful waiting to low-risk patients who understand the risks of strangulation (SOR: C, based on expert opinion and case series).
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