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Incisional hernia: occur when bowel pokes through a surgical wound in your abdomen that has not adequately healed. This may be due to the broken sutures before completion of the wound healing or wound repair may not be strong enough. Several conditions may predispose to the development of incisional hernia;  emergency surgery, post-surgery wound infection, medication (steroid tablets, cancer drugs etc), radiotherapy, malnourishment and sepsis.

What are the expected symptoms?

Most of the hernias are symptomless. Majority patients notice a bulge under the skin usually underneath or around the previous operation scar. Majority hernias are easily reduced and disappear on lying down. Some may cause pain, obstruction and strangulation.

What are the alarming symptoms?

You should seek your doctors help if your hernia is causing frequent pains, hernia is irreducible, obstructed or strangulated.

What is a strangulated hernia?

Strangulated hernia is a surgical emergency, if neglected can lead to very serious complications. Strangulation occurs when blood supply to hernia contents, usually bowel, is impaired leading to ischemia (death of the bowel) or gangrene of the bowel.

What is the treatment?

Non -surgical treatment can be used if the hernia is asymptomatic. Symptomatic hernias can be treated with surgical repair.

When is the surgery required?

Surgery is indicated in symptomatic hernias. Very rarely, if the patient is unfit an abdominal truss can be used in non-obstructed or strangulated hernias.

What are the different types of surgery available?

• Open repair

• Laparoscopic repair

• Component separation technique

Your surgeon will be able to explain in detail of the above techniques.

What happens during surgery?

These hernias are repaired under general anaesthesia. The purpose of surgery is to reduce the hernia and repair the defect with a mesh. Your surgeon will have decided the mode of surgery with you at the time of initial consultation.

What is the after care?

You will be encouraged to be mobile as much as possible. We advise our patients to refrain from lifting heavy weights for four weeks and avoid driving till they are able to put an emergency stop. Generally, you may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two depending on the type and size of the hernia.

Do I need to take time off from work following surgery?

We advise you to take two to three weeks off from work.

What are the risks from surgery?

Most common risks are wound infection, bruising, fluid collection (seroma) underneath the wound, recurrence and pain.

Incisional Hernia

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