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Incisional hernia: everything you need to know

We share critical information about an incisional hernia. 

How common are incisional hernias and how can they be treated?

An incisional hernia refers to a hernia which forms on the site of a previous abdominal surgery. It occurs when the muscles layers of your abdominal wall split at the site of this surgery, causing a gap. As a result, tissue or other parts of your organs bulge through this gap. This is known as incisional hernia.

The NHS states it most often occurs behind your surgical scar, but you could develop an incisional hernial on the side of your scar. 

An incisional hernia is a common occurrence, with around 15% of previous abdominal surgery patients developing one on average.

After surgery, the sutures and weakened tissue around the scar are susceptible to being pushed out of the way by a piece of the intestine.

This means the hernia can create more damage around the scar, which means it should be treated soon after developing.

The symptoms for an incisional hernia are many and varied, as it depends on where the incision occurred.

The following are general symptoms:

  • Discomfort, a burning sensation, or aching around the old incisional and occurring hernia are almost universal symptoms. This is often paired with fever and nausea.
  • In some cases, constipation or diarrhoea can occur if the incision is around the lower abdomen, alongside the thinning in consistency of stools.
  • General bloating around the area of in the incision can be a symptom of an incisional hernia, alongside other symptoms.

An incisional hernia can be generally treated by hernia repair surgery, either in open surgery or with key-hole surgery (laparoscopically).

Generally, surgeons prefer key-hole surgery as it is quicker, less invasive, and means you can recover quicker. The time between diagnosis and private hernia surgery is often less than a month, ensuring you receive rapid and world-class treatment.

Laparoscopic surgery for incisional hernias

Our laparoscopic surgery requires a few small incisions around the groin and lower abdomen using a machine controlled by experienced and highly skilled clinicians. You will be placed under general anaesthetic for the procedure.

Using a lightweight, synthetic mesh, our surgeons push the incisional hernia back into the abdominal cavity, and cover it in a lightweight synthetic mesh which strengthens the abdominal wall, preventing the hernia from popping out again.

This technique is referred to as an umbrella hernia repair. Previous patients who have received this treatment with the mesh have recommended it rather than a manual pulling of the muscles together to heal the weakness, which can be more intrusive.

This less invasive surgery takes 45 minutes from start to finish, and is a day-care case, meaning you can arrive and leave on the day of the surgery.

Risks associated with incisional hernia surgery are generally uncommon, however, they still exist. Indeed, they are more common in older individuals than younger individuals.

Your Consultant will advise you on the following risks: general surgical difficulties, such as blood clots, damage to your internal organs, nerve damage, scarring, and infections from the wound.

More pertinent to incisional hernia surgery is that there may be difficulty passing stools after the surgery, as well as temporary weakness around the groin and central muscles of your abdomen.

A consultation with an experienced Consultant is often the quickest and simplest way to diagnose and treat your hernia.

They will be able to discuss the best treatment options for your specific situation.

Book an appointment online today.

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