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What is Incisional Hernia Repair?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An incisional hernia repair is a surgical procedure performed to address an incisional hernia. Also sometimes called a ventral hernia, this condition occurs when the abdominal muscles weaken, allowing tissues or organs to protrude. During this operation, the surgeon corrects the position of all affected tissues and muscles. Sutures, or surgical stitches, are then used to hold the muscles in place. This helps prevent the condition from recurring.

There are different types of hernias, and this particular kind occurs only after a previous surgery. A prior operation can weaken the muscle at the point of the incision. Some patients are more likely than others to experience this problem. People who are obese, pregnant, or those who have had multiple surgeries are at a higher risk of needing an incisional hernia repair.

Incisional hernia repair is not always necessary. If the bulge is small and does not cause pain, the patient may not need to undergo this procedure. People who do experience pain or other problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal swelling, should most likely have this operation.

This surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which means that the patient will not be awake. People must follow the surgeon's instructions regarding consuming food or liquid prior to an incisional hernia repair. They should also disclose any medications they take, as well as any other medical conditions they may have.

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After the anesthesia is administered, the surgeon will make several small incisions. An instrument called a laparoscope is inserted through an incision. This device is similar to a small video camera, and allows the surgeon to see inside the area.

Once his instruments are in place, the surgeon can move the tissues or organs back into their proper places. When that is finished, he will repair the weakened muscle. Small hernias can be addressed by stitching the muscle tissues together. These sutures are permanent.

If the muscle has a larger defect, the surgeon will likely patch it with a mesh graft. This is also permanent. The synthetic material is installed over the weak area of muscle to support it. After the incisional hernia repair is complete, the surgeon will close the incisions.

Recovery from an incisional hernia repair requires rest. Typically, a patient can expect to return to normal activities in about two to four weeks. Patients should inform the doctor if they notice any redness or swelling in the area, or if they experience pain or a fever.

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