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Incisional hernia repair (open)

If you are suffering from a hernia, open incisional hernia repair can help

Any operation on your abdomen needs a cut that is closed with stitches.

Sometimes your wound does not heal properly, and a weakness happens in the muscle layer.

This results in the contents of your abdomen, along with the inner layer, pushing through your abdominal muscles.

This produces a lump under your skin called a hernia.

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes about 90 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut through your old scar.

They will repair the weak tissue either with stitches only or using a synthetic mesh, which they will stitch to the muscles under your skin.

Then your surgeon will close your skin over the repair.

However, they may need to form a flap of skin over the repair so that your skin closes properly.

You should no longer have the hernia.

Surgery should prevent serious complications and allow you to return to normal activities.

Are there any alternatives to open incisional hernia repair surgery?

You can sometimes control the hernia with supportive clothing or simply leave it alone.

It will not get better without surgery.

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Developing a collection of blood (haematoma) or fluid (seroma) under your wound
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Skin necrosis, where some of the skin flap dies
  • Injury to structures that come from your abdomen and are within the hernia
  • Damage to nerves
  • Removing your umbilicus (belly button)

You should be able to go home after 1 to 4 days.

You will need to increase how much you walk around over the first few days.

Your doctor will tell you when you can return to work. With regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible.

Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities. However, the hernia can come back.

An incisional hernia is a weakness in your abdominal wall which happens when previous wounds do not heal properly.

If left untreated, an incisional hernia can cause serious complications.

Book your appointment online, or find out more calling us on 0808 101 0337.


  • Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
  • Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright ©

Specialists offering Incisional hernia repair (open)

Mr Andrew Huang

Consultant Laparoscopic, Colorectal and General Surgeon

BSc (Hons), MB, ChB (Hons), MS (Lond), FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Gen Surg)

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Mr Shaun Appleton

Consultant General and Gastrointestinal Surgeon


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Mr Arnold Goede

Consultant General Surgeon

MBChB, MS, FRCS (Gen Surg)

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Mr Rame Sunthareswaran

Consultant General Surgeon

MB BS BSc(Hons), FRCSEng(Gen), FRCSEng(Vasc), RCPathME

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Mr Christopher Gatzen

Consultant Laparoscopic General and Colorectal Surgeon


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