An incisional hernia is when abdominal tissues or organs push out through your abdominal wall at a site where you’ve previously had surgery.

An incisional hernia is when abdominal tissues or organs push out through your abdominal wall at a site where you’ve previously had surgery. This causes a lump or swelling. Incisional hernias are a common complication after abdominal surgery, and can happen if the wound hasn’t healed properly.

When is surgery needed?

If your incisional hernia is small and not causing too many symptoms, you may not need surgery straight away. Your doctor may just recommend keeping an eye on it to see if it gets any bigger. But if your hernia does grow bigger, or is causing you troublesome symptoms, your doctor is likely to recommend surgery.

Without surgery, you could be at risk of complications – including bowel obstruction (when your bowel becomes blocked) and strangulation. This is when the contents of the hernia become completely trapped and the blood supply is reduced or cut off. A strangulated hernia can lead to the tissue becoming infected or dying, and other complications.

How is incisional hernia repair carried out?

Incisional hernia repair may be carried out by open or keyhole surgery. Your surgeon will gently push the tissue and organs back into place. They’ll then repair the opening, usually using a mesh patch to make it stronger. Find out more about hernia repair.

You may be able to go home the same day as an incisional hernia repair, but sometimes you’ll need to stay overnight.

Complications of incisional hernia repair

There’s a high risk of an incisional hernia coming back again, especially if you’re overweight. Other complications are similar to those for other types of hernia repair, and include infection and build-up of fluid and blood in the area.

Incisional hernia repair costs and fees

Incisional hernia repair is often available through private medical insurance. Check with your insurer whether they will cover it. You can also self-fund this treatment.

Typically, an initial consultation with the surgeon will cost between £150 and £250. The cost of the procedure itself will vary depending on the exact surgery you have.

References

  • Sethi S. Everything you need to know about incisional hernias. Healthline. www.healthline.com, reviewed 3 April 2019.
  • Hope WW, Tuma F. Incisional hernia. StatPearls. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, last update 26 June 2020.
  • Abdominal wall hernias. Patient. patient.info, last edited 15 January 2018.
  • Hernia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. www.britannica.com, last updated 26 May 2021.
  • Ventral hernia repair. American College of Surgeons. www.facs.org, revised July 2017.

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