Incisional Hernia Surgery

Incisional hernia repair is a surgical procedure performed to correct an incisional hernia. An incisional hernia, also called a ventral hernia, is a bulge or protrusion that occurs near or directly along a prior abdominal surgical incision. The surgical repair procedure is also known as incisional or ventral herniorrhaphy.

There are two types of Incisional Hernia Surgery.

In an open procedure, an incision is made just large enough to remove fat and scar tissue from the abdominal wall near the hernia. The outside edges of the weakened hernial area are defined and excess tissue is removed from within the area. Mesh is then applied so that it overlaps the weakened area by several inches (centimeters) in all directions. Non-absorbable sutures (the kind that must be removed by the doctor) are placed into the full thickness of the abdominal wall. The sutures are tied down and knotted.
In the less-invasive laparoscopic procedure, two or three small incisions are made to access the hernia site. Then the laparoscope is inserted in one incision and surgical instruments in the others to remove tissue and place the mesh in the same fashion as in an open procedure. Significantly less abdominal wall tissue is removed in laparoscopic repair. The surgeon views the entire procedure on a video monitor to guide the placement and suturing of mesh.

Patients will usually be discharged on the day of the surgery. Once the patient is home, the hernia repair site must be kept clean, and any sign of swelling or redness should be reported to the surgeon. Patients should also report fever or any kind of abdominal pain. Outer sutures may have to be removed by the surgeon in a follow-up visit about a week after the surgery. Strenuous activities should be avoided for up to two weeks, depending on the type of surgery performed. To allow proper healing of muscle tissue, hernia repair patients should avoid heavy lifting for at least six to eight weeks after surgery, or longer as advised.

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