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Hernia Repair (Incisional)

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Learn more about hernia repairs at King Edward VII’s Hospital

Why would I need incisional hernia repair surgery?

If an incisional hernia is causing you considerable pain or discomfort or your specialist thinks it could get worse, you will be advised to have incisional hernia repair surgery.

What symptoms does incisional hernia repair surgery address?

An incisional hernia occurs when a piece of tissue or a section of the bowel pushes through an area of muscle in the abdominal wall that has previously been operated on. Abdominal surgery such as a Caesarean section or removal of the appendix can cause a weakness in the affected muscles, allowing tissue or a section of bowel to protrude through, causing a lump or bulge visible on the outside of the abdomen.

If left untreated, it can cause considerable pain and discomfort, and could become serious if the bowel becomes obstructed or strangulated.

Surgery aims to relieve these symptoms and help prevent or treat these complications.

When should you speak to your specialist about incisional hernia repair surgery?

If you have a visible bulge or pain in an area where you’ve previously had abdominal surgery, speak to your specialist who can assess your symptoms and if necessary, discuss surgery.

How is incisional hernia repair surgery performed?

 An incisional hernia repair is carried out under a general anaesthetic and most patients are able to return home on the day of their operation.

This kind of surgery can be carried out as a laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure or an open procedure. Your surgeon will discuss which one suits you better.

Keyhole surgery involves your surgeon making 2-4 small incisions in your abdomen and open surgery involves one longer, thin incision. Your surgeon will then push the herniated tissue back into place and strengthen the muscle either with surgical stitches or by fixing a medical mesh in place using stiches or a medical glue.

What is the recovery like for incisional hernia repair surgery?

Your recovery from incisional hernia repair surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

After your procedure, your medical team will provide you with pain relief and advice on how long you should take off work and refrain from carrying out your normal activities. Most people are able to return to light exercise and activities within 1-2 weeks and more strenuous activities within another couple of weeks.

Are there any risks/complications associated with incisional hernia repair surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Incisional hernia repair surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Recurrence of the hernia
  • Wound infection
  • Scarring
  • Bruising or numbness in the area
  • Blood and other fluid collecting in the area

How can I prepare for incisional hernia repair surgery?

Prior to incisional hernia repair surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare for surgery, as each patient is different.

Common preparations for incisional hernia repair surgery include:

  • Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
  • Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Remaining active and doing regular exercise

Read our guide on everything you need to know about hernia repair surgery

Are there alternatives for incisional hernia repair surgery?

If your surgeon has recommended surgery, it’s unlikely that any other treatment will be effective, but you may benefit from wearing a pressure belt called an abdominal binder. Your surgeon can provide details on whether this will be suitable for you.

Call 020 7467 4344 or fill in your details below to make an enquiry
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