Medicals and hernia

jergar999

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All personal embarrasment aside, I am fairly confident that I have an abdominal hernia. I figured there must be someone on this board that has experienced a hernia, and wondered what effect it has on a First Class Medical as mine is coming up shortly.
 

Vector4fun

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All I can tell ya is I had an umbilical hernia about 10 yrs ago, not acute or anything, scheduled the surgery, (had a couple other minor things done while I was on the table) took a month off work because they did cut my abdominal wall in about 3 places, so it hurt for a good three weeks, but only really sore for one. Went back to work a couple weeks after I was off the pain meds, and FAA had no problem. (I'm an FAA controller, and also carried a 1st class medical at that time) Don't recall any major paperwork that needed to be submitted or reviewed.

Now I have a bullet-proof belly button. (Kevlar) :D
 

HAL

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Yeah, I was in for my medical seven years ago on a short 2-day stint at home. The doc looked at me and said "you've got an inguinal hernia. I can't issue the medical." I could barely feel it, and it didn't affect me in any way, but of course without the medical I couldn't work.

This was during my last two weeks at a commuter before going to training at Hawaiian. So I called the chief pilot to tell him I'd be out for two weeks and scheduled the surgery for a couple days out.

The surgery went fine, and two weeks later the doc cleared me to fly commercial back to PIT to clean out my crash pad, return my manuals, and drive the car back to SEA. Once back home and a couple days from heading to HNL I went to see the surgeon, who cleared my back to full flying status. I went to the AME to pick up my medical, and he offhandedly told me "Oh, by the way, I found out that your type of hernia isn't disqualifying - it has to be causing problems (i.e. intestinal, or pain) before I can't issue the medical."

"What??!!!! was my response. So it cost me my last two weeks at the commuter, and a boatload of pain and concern about being ready to start training at Hawaiian because he didn't know what the he11 he was doing.

So the short answer is (unless medical standards have changed in seven years) it shouldn't affect you unless it is pinching off parts of your intestines, or causing serious pain.

Good luck!

HAL
 

bafanguy

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HAL said:
Yeah, I was in for my medical seven years ago on a short 2-day stint at home. The doc looked at me and said "you've got an inguinal hernia. I can't issue the medical." I could barely feel it, and it didn't affect me in any way, but of course without the medical I couldn't work.

This was during my last two weeks at a commuter before going to training at Hawaiian. So I called the chief pilot to tell him I'd be out for two weeks and scheduled the surgery for a couple days out.

The surgery went fine, and two weeks later the doc cleared me to fly commercial back to PIT to clean out my crash pad, return my manuals, and drive the car back to SEA. Once back home and a couple days from heading to HNL I went to see the surgeon, who cleared my back to full flying status. I went to the AME to pick up my medical, and he offhandedly told me "Oh, by the way, I found out that your type of hernia isn't disqualifying - it has to be causing problems (i.e. intestinal, or pain) before I can't issue the medical."

"What??!!!! was my response. So it cost me my last two weeks at the commuter, and a boatload of pain and concern about being ready to start training at Hawaiian because he didn't know what the he11 he was doing.

So the short answer is (unless medical standards have changed in seven years) it shouldn't affect you unless it is pinching off parts of your intestines, or causing serious pain.

Good luck!

HAL
HAL,

Yet another case for going to an AME who knows what he's talking about. This guy's mismanagement of your case was no skin off his nose but it was off YOURS. People can fly with hernias as long as they are found to not be "encapsulated or strangulated". A letter to this effect from your doc to the Feds...end of problem. I've heard many stories like this over the years. Sorry to hear another one.
 

jergar999

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Thanks for the honest input. Any comments on the surgery, or how long it takes to recover?
 

bayoubandit

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I had a hernia operation about a year ago. Here's my take.

The surgery itself is really a non event. I took 2 1/2 weeks off of work for recovery. The first few days after the operation are not very pleasant. You really can't stand up straight nor walk very easily. I found I needed someone to help me out of bed and walk me around if I had to get up (powerful drugs). My advice is to have a bed elevated so you don't have to lift yourself off of it or be lifted very much to get up, that's the part that hurts. Mostly I found the recovery to be more uncomfortable than painful (except the getting up part). Build yourself a nest and sleep away.

When you go back in for a checkup (around 2 weeks), have the doctor print up and sign a return to work release letter. That's the only thing your AME will need since you will have to put that you had an operation on your medical form.
 
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