Incisional Hernias

What is an incisional hernia?

An incisional hernia can potentially occur after any abdominal surgery. An abdominal incision leads to potential weakness of the abdominal wall with the possibility that an incisional hernia may develop, sometimes years later after the initial surgery. The risk is much smaller with minimally invasive surgery (port site hernia) but still exists.

What are the symptoms of an incisional hernia?

The most noticeable symptoms of incisional hernia is a bulge near the incision area. The most feared complications of incisional hernias (and most other hernias) are incarceration (inability to reduce the hernia) and strangulation (the blood supply to the hernia contents is cut off possibly leading to necrosis and perforation of the contents). Most hernias will need to be repaired in order to avoid these potential complications. Other than the visible bulge, incarcerated incisional hernias may also cause symptoms such as:

The following factors will increase the risk of an incisional hernia developing:

What are the possible treatment options for incisional hernias?

Once an incisional hernia has developed, it will need to be repaired to avoid the complications of incarceration and strangulation. The repair will generally involve the placement of a synthetic mesh to decrease the risk of hernia recurrence. This can be done in an open or minimally invasive manner. A minimally invasive approach lessens the risk of hernia recurrence and mesh infection, but is not suitable for very large / complex hernias.