Hernias are never fun, and incisional hernias are no different. They’re less of a worry these days with the advent of laparoscopic procedures, which reduce the incisions down to a few small ones for a large variety of procedures. But that’s a cold comfort if you’re experiencing one right now.
So how are incisional hernias caused, and how long is the recovery period of incisional hernias?
When the incision is made to perform a surgery, the incision needs to heal after the surgery is done. During this process, the scar tissue forms over time and is typically not as thick as the skin around the incision. This makes it very easy for a hernia to occur.
Hernias happen when organs protrude through muscle tissue. The protrusion can cause discomfort and can worsen over time if not treated. These hernias generally occur in people who have recently had abdominal surgery, such as gallbladder removal surgery or an appendectomy.
Incisional hernias are most likely in the few days following surgery, and can be caused by a variety of factors. However, they usually go away on their own. If it hasn’t gone away after a few months of the surgery, the hernia will be repaired.
The procedure is a relatively simple one commonly performed by doctors. It’s typically repaired laparoscopically, or with a small video camera attached to a tube to assist the surgeons. This way, fewer incisions are made in order to repair the hernia. It’s done by closing the hernia from the outside and placing a mesh on it to make sure it doesn’t occur again.
Not all incisional hernias are repaired this way. Sometimes it requires open surgery. The procedure is mostly the same, though, except the incision made is larger. The protrusion is repaired and a mesh is placed over it to strengthen it.
Luckily, recovering from an incisional hernia is not too bad. The patient typically leaves the hospital on the day of the surgery and can resume normal activities quickly. They may need to take a week off of work to recover. Patients are advised to avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks after surgery.
All in all, incisional hernias are generally not a worry for most people. Even if they appear, they’re expected to disappear within a few weeks and generally do not need to be repaired immediately.