Incisional hernias occur at the site of a previous surgical incision, where tissue or organs from the abdomen push through a healing or incompletely healed layer of the abdominal wall. Incisional hernias vary in size and severity, from requiring monitoring to surgical intervention.
Larger incisions (such as a laparotomy), or if the initial surgery was performed as an emergency, are more likely to develop into an incisional hernia later.
Weak abdominal muscles or connective tissue prior to surgery can increase the likelihood of developing an incisional hernia. Other conditions such as being overweight, and diabetes weaken the abdominal wall. Smoking, heavy lifting, and taking medications that deplete the immune system also contribute to a more fragile abdominal wall, increasing the risk of developing an incisional hernia.
Indicators of an incisional hernia are:
- A bulge in the area where the tissue is pushing through the site of the incision.
- Pain, especially when coughing, sneezing, or lifting.
- Constipation and / or bloating.
In most cases, a physical examination combined with a medical history will be enough to diagnose an incisional hernia. In certain cases, Dr Moar may also request CT imaging, MRI, or ultrasound scans if he thinks they may be helpful for ascertaining further characteristics about the hernia to inform surgical treatment.