An incisional hernia is formed by a bulge of tissues at a curing surgical scar. After a surgery the wound heals naturally. The layers of abdominal wall are stitched or glued and closed. Sometimes these layers open apart over time or due to some infection, failing to heal the wound naturally. This can cause the abdominal lining to open apart and the wound will become a weak surgical scar. This causes the protrusion of small segment of the organ or tissues of the abdomen through the unhealed scar opening and put pressure on the scar. They are considered as vertical hernia as they are formed in the front of the abdomen. Incisional hernia is not severe as only the abdominal lining comes through the area. Incisoinal hernia is commonly developed in patients who have undergone abdominal surgery. They are formed within three to six months after the surgery, when the tissues are still healing from the incision made in the abdominal wall. This hernia can be treated only by surgery. Both open and laparoscopic surgery is available to treat incisional hernia.
In rare cases the incisional hernia cause strangulation of intestines which leads to a serious health threat to patients. Strangulation of intestine will cause block of the blood flow to the intestine and can cause permanent damage to the organ. Other causes for insicional hernia include
- improper wound care and infection
- heavy lifting
- straining while having a bowel movement
- pressure put on the scar while sneezing, coughing and vomiting
Exhausting activities like weight lifting, overweight or obesity can also cause pressure on the healing tissues of the abdomen.
Symptoms of an incisional hernia:
- Infection with pain and swelling
- Visible protrusion
- Foul-smelling drainage
- Bowel obstruction in case of strangulated intestine
Open incisional hernia surgery is the most common method of treatment. Before the surgery doctor advise to limit the intake of food and drinks. Various tests are performed to evaluate the health condition of the patient. The surgery begins with a local anesthetic injected into the spine. The surgeon starts the procedure by making a large incision over the hernia in the abdomen. Hernia repairing tools are inserted through the incision and the organ or tissues that are misplaced or bulged out are moved back into position. After repositioning the tissues, a mesh is inserted to provide support to the weak spot of the abdomen. This is to prevent further development of hernia on the location. The surgery generally lasts for about 45 minutes.
After the surgery, the patients are moved into post operative care unit. Meditations are provided to get relief from the pain and discomfort. Patients are told to take special care to prevent any infection or bleeding from the wound. It takes few days to recover and advised not to lift heavy objects or involve in any activities that can put pressure on the abdomen region.