Hernias that occur in the abdomen and above the pelvis are known as ventral hernias. Ventral hernias result when the contents of the abdomen push through the abdominal wall. This most commonly happens at the midline of the body, but it can happen at any spot in the abdomen. The weakness in the abdominal wall may be a natural weakness present from birth, but it can also result from other things that exert force and pressure on the abdomen. These include pregnancy, obesity, straining during bowel movements, and heavy lifting. Symptoms may include a visible bulge, pain, and sometimes nausea or vomiting.
Incisional hernias is a term given to ventral hernias that occur at the site of a previous abdominal surgery. As the name implies, an incisional hernia happens when the organ or tissue pushes through an old incision. The risk of an incisional hernia is higher when the incision doesn’t properly heal due to infection.
Ventral and incisional hernias can be done either open or laparoscopically. Generally speaking, small and uncomplicated ventral hernias are most effectively treated with laparoscopic surgery. If the hernia is large, complicated or multiply recurrent, an open approach may yield better outcomes. The best course of treatment is patient dependent.
In very complex cases, the surgeons of Surgical Associates of WNY can provide abdominal wall reconstruction. This refers to a surgical technique wherein layers of the abdominal wall are released and positioned to fill the void where the hernia was located. This is generally recommended when a patient has had multiple recurrent hernias and simple closures may no longer be sufficient. Be sure to discuss your particular situation fully with your surgeon to understand what your options and recommended treatments are.