Can being overweight increase your risk of hernia formation? Simply, Yes.
For years it has been widely held that being overweight will significantly increase your risk of hernia formation. Now we have proof. A recent study has evaluated this topic and shown that in fact the risk of hernia formation does in fact increase with increasing BMI (body mass index). (Lau, et al. Obesity Increases the Odds of Acquiring and Incarcerating Noninguinal Abdominal Wall Hernias, The American Surgeon, Oct, 2012, No 10, p1118.) Here is what they found:
Compared to patients who had normal body mass index, the risk of developing a ventral abdominal wall hernia (measured as an odds ratio or OR) increased with increasing BMI as follows:
1) BMI 25-29.9; OR 1.63
2) BMI 30-39.9; OR 2.62
3) BMI 40-49.9; OR 3.91
4) BMI 50-59.9; OR 4.85
5) BMI 60 and greater; OR 5.17.
In short, patients with BMI greater than 40 showed an increased risk of their hernias incarcerating, and being irreducible. This rate increased even higher for patients with BMI >60. This is very important information for all patients with higher body weights and BMIs; particularly for those with existing, un-repaired hernias. For more information about weight loss programs, visit our ROX Bariatric Website.