Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

Recommendations from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons on hernias, blood transfusion, reflux in gastric band patients & appendicitis. RACS is the leading advocate for surgical standards, professionalism and surgical education in Australia and New Zealand. The College is a not-for-profit organisation that represents more than 7000 surgeons and 1300 surgical trainees and International Medical Graduates.

Don’t perform repair of minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic inguinal hernias without careful consideration, particularly in patients who have significant co-morbidities.

Date reviewed: 1 March 2016

The proportion of patients presenting with inguinal hernias who are suffering significant co-morbidities is increasing. In these populations and in the presence of multiple of co-morbidities, the importance of carefully assessing the risks and benefits of surgical intervention is vital. Studies have shown that adoption of a watch and wait approach does not heighten the risk of the patient developing more severe symptoms. In cases of minimally symptomatic and asymptomatic inguinal hernias, the patient’s prognosis and long term health may be improved by non-surgical intervention. Ongoing surgical review is required to ensure that an individual's condition is monitored and that a re-evaluation of their surgical need is made should their symptoms increase in severity.

Supporting evidence
  • Fitzgibbons RJ, Giobbie-Hurder A, Gibbs JO, Dunlop DD, Reda DJ, McCarthy M, et al. Watchful Waiting vs Repair of Inguinal Hernia in Minimally Symptomatic Men. JAMA 2006;295(3):285-92.
  • Turaga K, Fitzgibbons RJ, Puri V. Inguinal Hernias: Should We Repair? Surgical Clinics of North America 2008;88(1):127–38.
  • Mayer F, Lechner M, Adolf D, Öfner D, Köhler G, Fortelny R, et al. Is the age of >65 years a risk factor for endoscopic treatment of primary inguinal hernia? Analysis of 24,571 patients from the Herniamed Registry. Surgical Endoscopy 2016;30(1):296-306.
How this list was made How this list was made

RACS collaborated with General Surgeons Australia (GSA) and the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) respectively on the development of lists for Choosing Wisely Australia. Each organisation worked closely with key members including the Sustainability in Healthcare Committee and Professional Development and Standards Board (RACS), and the Boards of Directors (GSA and ASOHNS) to develop the lists of tests/treatments/procedures for general surgery, and head and neck surgery.

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