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Ventral Hernia

What is a ventral hernia?

A ventral hernia is a weakness or defect anywhere on the abdominal wall. Internal organs (small bowel, large bowel or omentum) may push through the weakness or defect causing discomfort, pain and a noticeable bulge. In some cases, a hernia may cause only slight discomfort, however whereas in other cases, the may become incarcerated (unable to push the hernia back) and block digestion. This may cause severe pain requiring immediate medical attention.

This hernia may be acquired or congenital (you are born with it).

Acquired hernias may be caused by lifting heaving objects, extreme weight gain or persistent coughing.




How is it treated?

Whether your hernia is acquired or congenital, surgery is the only way to repair your hernia. Two types of hernia repair surgery:

  • Open surgery is performed by cutting through the abdominal wall to reach the hernia defect. The incision depends on the size and location of the hernia. The Mesh is typically place in the pre-peritoneal space. This is the space between the lining of the abdominal contents and the abdominal wall musculature.Open surgery allows the muscle defect to be closed directly over the mesh.
  • In laparoscopic (keyhole hernia repair), a laparoscope is used. Multiple small incisions are made to allow the doctor to see through a camera (laparoscope) whilst they operate inside the body. These incisions can range from 0.6cm to 1.3cm.




Post-operation information

  • After waking from your operation, you may have a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen.
  • Occasionally, some people experience a little abdominal bloating. This should pass within a few hours.
  • Early mobilization is encouraged (as soon as you feel able).
  • Discharge home is usually after one night in hospital. However, for large hernias you may have to stay in hospital up to 5 nights.
  • Your dressings are waterproof and you can shower.
  • Dressings should not be removed until your post operative appointment.
  • Driving is permitted 3-5 days post surgery. Begin with short journeys and a passenger who can drive.
  • Return to work can be as soon as one week post your operation, depending on the work you do.
  • Heavy lifting and strenuous activity (such as going to the gym) should be avoided until four weeks after your operation.

More information

All of the information you need to know, pre and post-operatively, will be made available to you in separate information packs given to you before and after your surgery. Our practice nurse, will also be able to assist you with any questions that you might have at any time