Patient hugging a pillow on stomach

What is Incisional Hernia? Is There A Way To Treat It?

April 24, 2020

If you’ve had abdominal surgery then there’s a chance you might experience something called incisional hernia. This type of hernia involves ab tissues pushing through the abdomen’s muscles. This hernia shows up as a bulge underneath the skin and can cause pain and soreness. There are many kinds of hernias that are caused by different factors. This one involves a muscle that didn’t heal properly after you had surgery on your stomach. Like other types of hernias, it’s important to get this one diagnosed ASAP. Your doctor can provide an examination and tests. You can then get the treatment you need to fix the problem.

If you have an incisional-type hernia what are the treatments? There are various ones available including a type of garment and different surgeries. This type of hernia is a little different from others because the actual cause of the condition is a past surgery. This can become a factor. If the muscle didn’t heal properly after the first surgery you might be hesitant to have another one. As always important to learn all the treatment options you have so you and your doctor can select the right one for your particular situation. The key is to act ASAP.


Why Is Hernia Surgery Done?

Since an incisional-type hernia results from abdominal surgery, it’s important to know why this procedure is done in the first place. Hernia surgery is actually the most common type of surgery in the world.

What is this surgery all about? It’s done for various reasons. They include reducing pain, strengthening weak muscle areas, and moving the abdomen’s organs to where they’re supposed to be.

Hernia surgeries are usually done in about one day. This shows that the surgery is often an outpatient surgery although you might have to stay in the hospital if there are complications.

Here are some of the main types of surgeries that are done:


Keyhole Surgery

This is a less “invasive” surgery than others. It involves using instruments like a tiny camera to fix the hernia. The doctor might use a mesh to make the abdominal wall stronger.


Open Surgery

This procedure involves the surgeon pushing back the hernia into the abdomen. Stitches or a mesh might be placed over the hole. The mesh allows the tissue to grow past the mesh and make the area stronger without putting pressure on the tissues around it.

The hernia can be located in various body parts. They include the stomach, belly button, and groin.

These surgeries can be very effective. However, there’s always a chance there could be some complications. It can include the buildup of fluid under the skin’s surface, tissue/organ damage, or problems urinating.

Another possible issue is there’s a chance the hernia could return again. That’s what happens in the case of an incisional-type hernia. The muscle might not heal properly following the operation. This can cause the tissue/organ to push through the muscle again.

Before picking a particular surgery it’s important to talk to your doctor. He/She can provide information about the different types of surgeries available, success rates, main risks, and so on.


What Is Incisional Hernia?

This is one of the types of hernias you can experience. This takes place when there’s a weakness in the abdomen muscle. The result is tissues push out through the gap in the muscle. This causes a visible bulge that can be painful/sore for the patient.

This type of hernia results from an incision that was made during a past surgery. After the doctor makes an incision in the abdomen’s muscle sometimes it doesn’t heal properly. The gap forms when you do different physical activities.

The result is the area becomes weak with a gap. Normally the area is supposed to be strong and flat. As time passes the tissues below the skin start to move past the opening and can be felt underneath the skin.

This condition is usually so small that only the stomach’s lining gets through. In major cases, parts of organs go through the muscle’s hole. Don’t worry–this isn’t very common.

There’s a greater chance you’ll have an incisional-type hernia if you’ve had 2+ stomach surgeries. The more surgeries you had the more likely you’ll have this type of hernia.

There are also different risk factors for this type of hernia. They include patients who gained weight after abdominal surgery, do activities that boost abdominal pressure, or get pregnant. These cases are the highest risks for incisional hernia.

You’re also most likely to experience this hernia right after surgery. That’s when the incision is weak and the abdomen is healing. Incisional-type hernias are most likely within 6 months following surgery.

What if a patient has abdominal surgery? In that case, have you have a different type of hernia besides incisional.

It’s important to learn about the different types of hernias that exist so you can determine which type you likely have. Your doctor will help to sort things out for you.


Recovery Tips for Hernia Surgery

After having a hernia surgery it’s important to take steps to make the recovery as effective as possible and reduce the chance of a future incisional-type hernia.

Here are some helpful tips:


1. Try bland foods

This is a good idea to prevent stomach problems during your recovery. Some good options are whole-wheat toast, boiled rice, broiled chicken, and plain yogurt.

If you have digestion problems after your surgery then it’s important to avoid constipation. Make sure to drink lots of water. Your doctor might suggest things like high-fiber foods, mild laxative, and so on.


2. Apply ice/cold pack

Make sure to do this for 10-20 minutes. It’s wise to take this step every 1-2 hours for 3 days after the surgery. You should at least continue it until the swelling reduces. You should also place a cloth between your skin and ice to help prevent “burning” your skin.


3. Get enough rest

This might seem obvious but it’s worth noting. It’s important to stay active but do not overdo it. For example, walking is a good option. Make sure not to do high-intensity workouts or run any marathons until you’re fully recovered.

As a general rule, you can do light physical activity 1-3 weeks following the surgery. It depends on factors like the kind of surgery you had. Make sure to follow your doctor’s guidelines about this issue.


4. Take medicines safely

Make sure to always read the label’s instructions. This will help to prevent possible problems. If you’re taking a prescription med for pain make sure to take it properly.


5. Delay bathing

As a general rule, you shouldn’t take a bath for 2 weeks after the surgery. Usually, you can take a shower of about 48 hours after the surgery. This gives the stitches/mesh to close up the incision. Your doctor can provide guidelines about these issues to help prevent incisional hernia.