Ventral hernia

Up to one in five patients will develop an incisional hernia after a laparotomy.

Estimated 200,000 incisional hernias occur each year.

Most commonly develop in the abdominal wall, where an area weakens and develops a tear or hole.

Abdominal tissue or part of the intestines may push through this weakened area, causing pain and potentially serious complications.

Ventral hernias are a type of abdominal hernia. They may develop as a defect at birth, resulting from incomplete closure of part of the abdominal wall, or develop where an incision was made during an abdominal surgery, occurring when the incision doesn’t heal properly.

Incisional hernias can develop soon after surgery or many years later. They affect as many as 30 percent of the patients who have abdominal surgery, such as an appendectomy.

Signs and SymptomsDiagnosisTreatment Ventral hernias cause a bulge or lump in the abdomen, which increases in size over time. In some cases, the lump may disappear when you lie down, and then reappear or enlarge when you put pressure on your abdomen, such as when you stand, or lift or push something heavy.

When tissue inside the hernia becomes stuck or trapped in abdominal muscle, it can cause pain, nausea, vomiting and constipation.

In rare cases, this may lead to a potentially life-threatening condition known as “strangulation,” which requires emergency surgery. This occurs when the blood supply to the herniated bowel is cut off or greatly reduced, causing the bowel tissue to die or rupture. Other symptoms of a strangulated hernia include severe abdominal pain, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, severe nausea, vomiting and high fever.

The risks for recurrence and infection are high following the repair of incisional ventral hernias.

Data suggest that all ventral hernia repairs should be reinforced with prosthetic repair materials.

The current standard for reinforced hernia repair is synthetic mesh.

Permanent synthetic mesh can pose a serious clinical problem in the setting of infection.

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