Aman Varma, a 48-year old software engineer, was diagnosed with incisional hernia when he consulted our surgeon about the protruding bulge in his lower abdomen.
“The bulge appeared at the incision site of an open appendectomy which I had in another hospital four months ago. Whenever I coughed forcefully or exerted pressure while passing stool, the bulge would increase,” Aman said.
Dr. Amarchand S. Bajaj, Senior Laparoscopic Surgeon at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital, was quick to reassure Aman and explained incisional hernia so that he was fully aware of the condition.
What is an Incisional Hernia?
“An incisional hernia is a type of hernia that develops at the site of a surgical wound that has not healed properly.”
Some common incisional hernia causes or risk factors include –
- Poor wound care and infection
- Excessive physical activity immediately post-surgery
- Increase in abdominal pressure due to hard coughing or constipation
- Lifting heavy things before wound is fully healed
“As the surgical wound doesn’t heal properly, the abdominal wall becomes weak and an internal part of the body protrudes through the muscle.”
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What are the symptoms of an Incisional Hernia?
It is important to be aware of incisional hernia symptoms before appropriate action is taken for treatment.
Here are some signs of incisional hernia that your doctor might look for –
- Swelling or protrusion near or at the site of incision
- Discomfort at the bulge near the abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting or fever in some cases
Are Incisional Hernias Dangerous?
Aman asked the doctor what incisional hernia complications could occur if he left his condition untreated.
“If not treated on time, the hernia may get trapped and become irreducible. This may indicate an obstructed or strangulated hernia, which can become dangerous.”
Consult a surgeon for hernia operation at the earliest because delaying the treatment will only make it worse.
Treatment for Incisional Hernia
“Most people think that small hernias can heal on their own but that is a misconception. There is also no non-surgical or medicinal treatment for hernia,” emphasized Dr. Bajaj.
Incisional hernia surgery is done using a minimally invasive method called a keyhole or laparoscopic repair.
“This is a a more specialized technique, as compared to an open surgery, as it employs fewer and smaller cuts.”
Using this method for incisional hernia surgery, recovery time becomes shorter and you can resume your daily activities within a couple of days of surgery.
Feeling reassured, Aman decided to go ahead with his operation.
After a successful laparoscopic surgery, Aman was back on his feet within a few days.
“I am glad I opted for the laparoscopic surgery at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital and did not have to get an open surgery again,” said Aman at a follow-up consultation.
Editorial inputs for this blog post were provided by Dr. Amarchand S. Bajaj, a General Surgeon with a focus on Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery.