What is an Incisional/Ventral hernia?
An incisional hernia can develop in the abdominal wall around a previous
incision. It usually arises in the abdominal wall where a previous surgical incision
was made. This results in a bulge or a tear in the area where the abdominal
muscles have weakened. The hernia can increase in size over time.
A hernia occurs when part of an organ (usually the bowel or intestine) protrudes
through a weak tear in the wall that holds the abdominal organs in place.
Hernias can develop around the navel, in the groin, or anywhere you may
have had a surgical incision prior.
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
An incisional hernia causes a bulge in the abdominal area. Often, this type of
hernia is painless, but may be tender and can cause discomfort during any type
of physical strain, such as lifting heavy objects, coughing, or straining during
The bulge may disappear when lying down, and be more visible when standing up.
Symptoms include pain, which may be a sharp or dull ache that feels worse
towards the end of the day. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and the
inability to have a bowel movement. Continuous or severe discomfort, or nausea
related to the bulge are signs that the hernia may be strangulated. If you have
these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician immediately.
How is a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair performed?
A surgeon uses special instruments, small incisions, and a videoscope and
television monitors to perform the hernia repair. Surgeons make as few other
tiny incisions as is feasible, depending on how much scar tissue there is and
how well they can see.
A laparoscope is inserted through a small hollow tube. The laparoscope and
TV camera allow the surgeon to view the hernia from the inside.Other small
incisions are made for placement of other instruments to remove any scar tissue,
and to insert a surgical mesh into the abdomen. This mesh is fixed under the
hernia defect to the strong tissues of the abdominal wall. The surgeon will use
mesh to reinforce the weakened area of the abdominal wall. This will help prevent
the hernia from recurring.
There are many advantages to a laparoscopic approach, including quicker
recovery and shorter hospital stays, as well as a significantly reduced risk of
infection and recurrence.
Patients usually go home within 24 hours after laparoscopic repair, and report
less pain and enjoy a quicker return to normal activities.