Incisional Hernia

Incisional Hernia

What is an incisional hernia?

This is seen as a bulge occurring in relation to a previous surgical scar in the abdominal wall.

It is due to weakness in the scar tissue.

This is the second most common type of hernia after an inguinal hernia.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:a painless bulge which can be pushed back in to the abdomen easily. The lump may become prominent when standing and disappears on lying down.

You may also experience a burning sensation with discomfort or dull pain. You may have difficulty in daily activities such as getting up from bed ,walking and lifting weight.


Obstruction to its content means that the hernia does not reduce and cannot be pushed back. If the sac contains bowel then you can develop vomiting and swelling of your abdomen.

Strangulation – The contents of the sac is strangulated at the neck of the hernia. You will  develop severe pain and the hernia becomes very tender and irreducible.


The operation usually will be under General anaesthesia  and you will be asleep through the operation.  In some cases it can be done with regional anaesthesia.

Repair of incisional  hernia can be performed as  Key hole (Laparoscopic) if it is smaller than 10cm in size. For hernias larger than 10cm you may need open surgery.

Key hole (Laparosocopic) surgery

You will have 3 or 4 small cuts in the abdomen. One cut will be used to introduce a telescope and look inside the abdomen. The sac will be reduced. The defect will be closed with a non-absorbable mesh and the skin cuts will be closed with absorbable stitches. You will be  allowed home when you are comfortable.

Open surgery

A cut is made over the lump. The sac and its contents are reduced. The defect is closed with a non-absorbable mesh and the skin will be closed with absorbable stitches.  In some larger hernia repairs you may need to have a drain and will stay in hospital for a few days.

More information

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