If not, how long should I wait? The hernia is painful and swollen so I'd like to get it fixed ASAP.
Gastric Bypass with Hernia Repair - Can It Be Done at the Same Time?
Doctor Answers 1
Gastric Bypass in a person with abdominal hernia
When a patient who is severely overweight and has an abdominal ventral hernia, we often recommend weight loss prior to hernia repair. There are many instances in which a patient that is interested in a bypass or sleeve or lap band also has an abdominal wall hernia. In this case, we typically recommend weight loss procedure first then hernia repair later.
The reasoning for staging the procedure and not typically doing both at the same time is that repair of a hernia requires a mesh which may become infected with a bypass or sleeve. Also the repair is "easier" on the patient and the surgeon with a better chance for a lasting repair.
There are situations that a hernia needs to be addressed first (such as a painful hernia as decribed in the question) and then doing a weight loss procedure at a later date.
Sometimes both can be done at the same time but the type of repair for the hernia may need to be "modified" and subsequently not be as "strong" in done in conjuction with a bypass.