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An incarcerated hernia is a part of the intestine or abdominal tissue that becomes trapped in the sac of a hernia—the bulge of soft tissue that pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall.
If part of the intestine is trapped, stool may not be able to pass through the intestine. This may cause pain, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal swelling (distension).
The loop of intestine can swell and become tightly trapped (strangulated) in the hernia, which causes the tissue to die (gangrene). If the intestine becomes strangulated, immediate surgery is needed.
Last Revised: November 15, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
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