What Is an Incisional Hernia?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In 1961, the Kennedy family was given a puppy named Pushinka; her mother was one of the first Soviet space dogs.  more...

October 17 ,  1777 :  The British surrendered to US military forces in the Battle of Saratoga.  more...

An incisional hernia develops at the site of a previous surgery when organs push through weak spots in the abdominal wall. Most commonly, this involves loops of bowel. The patient may notice swelling and tenderness around the incision site and a second surgery is required to correct the hernia and reinforce the wall of the abdomen to keep it in place. If left untreated, the patient can develop complications like necrosis in the protruding tissue, which can cause an infection in the bowel.

Abdominal incisions can be prone to incisional hernias because they weaken the tough tissues in the abdominal wall. These tissues normally keep the organs contained, but if they are weakened by a surgery, a vulnerable point may be created. Herniation can occur shortly after surgery or it may happen years in the future, and sometimes it onsets very suddenly. Patients are more prone to this complication if they are overweight, have a history of breathing problems, or strain themselves after surgery.

Those with signs of an incisional hernia can be examined to confirm the diagnosis. One option for treatment is an open surgical repair, where the doctor will open up the site and install a mesh to support the abdominal wall after pushing the protruding organ back into place. This can be a poor treatment option because the second surgical incision weakens the bowel wall even further, increasing the chance of another incisional hernia in the future.


Alternatively, a surgeon may recommend a laparoscopic approach. In this procedure, very small incisions are made to insert tools and a camera to work on the hernia without disturbing the old surgical site. The surgeon can reposition the organ and implant a hernia mesh to keep it in place. In rare cases, it may be necessary to convert to an open surgery because of complications that may arise while the patient is on the operating table.

Complications of incisional hernia repair can include a repeat hernia as well as infection. Patients need to be very careful about bending or lifting in the days after surgery, and shouldn’t engage in heavy physical activity until they get a clearance from their doctors. Coughing and straining on the toilet can also cause the hernia to recur. Use of a stool softener may be recommended in addition to pain management medications used to keep patients comfortable while the site of the incisional hernia heals.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 2

I don't know how long ago you posted this, but I just recently found out I had a hernia on my C-section incision. I had terrible stabbing pain mostly on the lower right to middle side of my lower abdomen. I even ended up in the ER. It would always get better though, not all the way better, but it would lessen, so it really confused the doctors.

I went to a few different doctors and had a CT scan done, and an ultrasound and blood work done. Not of those showed anything. eventually, i saw a general surgeon because my general doctor noticed my appendix was a little on the large side and wanted to take it out. When

he did, he found I had a hernia on my C-section incision.

I'm all fixed now and just hoping it never happens again. I think it was the hernia that was the cause of most my pain. Good luck to you.

Post 1

I've been having pain in my tummy for four years. I had a C-section in 2009 and every time I go to the GP, they tell me it's normal, and some say the muscle is weak or it's a hernia.

I am so confused. They did some scan which shows nothing, but my tummy is so big and the hernia appears. Everybody says am five or six months pregnant but I am not. can anybody suggest what I should do, please?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?