What is an incisional hernia?
An incisional hernia is one that develops within the scar of a previous operation. Abdominal surgery weakens the abdominal wall muscles. Although the surgeon stitches the muscles closed after surgery, this wound is never as strong as the natural tissues. This weakness at the site of previous surgery may lead to the development of an incisional hernia.
What does surgery involve?
Surgery is the preferred treatment and is performed in one of two ways:
The traditional (open) approach is done through an incision in the abdominal wall.
The second approach is a laparoscopic incisional hernia repair. In this approach, a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a television camera attached) is inserted through the small cut in the abdomen. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to view the hernia from the inside. Other small incisions allow very thin 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. Usually three or four quarter-inch to half-inch incisions are necessary.
What are the benefits of this treatment?
In contrast to open surgery, this operation offers the advantages of a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery and a reduced risk of recurrence.