What Is an Incisional Hernia?


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An incisional hernia is a hernia that develops at the site of a surgical scar, according to Mount Sinai Hospital. The hernia creates a protrusion of tissue that is noticeable when standing or engaged in physical activity. Incisional hernias account for up to 20 percent of abdominal hernias. They are ventral hernias because they usually develop near the front of the abdomen.

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Improper surgical techniques, improper stitching, poor wound care and infection cause incisional hernias, advises Florida Hospital. Additional risk factors include pregnancy, internal pressure from straining or coughing, inadequate lifting techniques, obesity and overexertion.

Only the abdominal lining typically comes through with an incisional hernia, which makes it a less serious condition than some other hernia types, notes Mount Sinai Hospital. Individuals who have abdominal surgery are at a heightened risk of developing an incisional hernia and are most susceptible for the first six months following surgery.

Symptoms of an incisional hernia include fever, infection, pain, aching and swelling, details Florida Hospital. Bowel obstruction, foul-smelling drainage, and redness or streaks are additional signs of an incisional hernia.

Surgery is necessary to repair incisional hernias because they do not heal on their own, explains Mount Sinai Hospital. During surgery, the surgeon removes scar tissue, pushes the tissue back and places a surgical mesh onto the hernia's opening to help prevent a recurrence. The rate of recurrence is between 5 and 20 percent in patients who have had corrective surgery.

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