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On the embarrassing bodies TV show I have noticed that hernias seem to be very simple to fix if deal with early on.

Would it be safe to reduce it by gently easing it back in behind the mussel, then strapping it until the muscle is strong enough to keep it held in? Avoiding surgery all together?

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The simple answer is no.

[H]ernias seem to be very simple to fix if deal with early on.

Very true; so easy that it's often an outpatient procedure.

"Strapping" (or belting) hernias has been done in one form or another for centuries. It's fine for people who have relatively small hernias that are asymptomatic. However, it's not a cure. The separation of the abdominal wall muscle is permanent (it's caused by either an inherent weakness at birth, and/or repetitive stress).

For inguinal hernias, watchful waiting (deferring surgery until it's necessary due to pain or other symptoms) is a perfectly acceptable way to "treat" hernias. Though there is considerable crossover to surgery, in one study, men have been watched for more than 11 years without any mortality and only 2 emergency repairs in a group of 254 men with inguinal hernias. The limitations are on lifting, activities, diet, constipation and other factors; many of the hernias become more painful with time.

More than you ever wanted to know about hernia repairs
Long-term results of a randomized controlled trial of a nonoperative strategy (watchful waiting) for men with minimally symptomatic inguinal hernias.
A clinician's guide to patient selection for watchful waiting management of inguinal hernia
Management of asymptomatic inguinal hernia: a systematic review of the evidence.

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