Incisional or Ventral Hernias may occur in the area of any prior surgical incision, and can vary in size from very small, to very large and complex. They develop as the result of disruption along or adjacent to the area of abdominal wall suturing, often subsequent tension placed on the tissue or other inhibition to adequate healing (infection, poor nutrition, obesity, or metabolic diseases).
These hernias present as a bulge or protrusion at or near the area of the prior incision scar. Virtually any prior abdominal operation can subsequently develop an Incisional Hernia at the scar area, including those from large abdominal procedures (intestinal surgery, vascular surgery), to small incisions (Appendectomy, or Laparoscopy). These hernias can occur at any incision, but tend to occur more commonly along a straight line from the breastbone straight down to the pubis, and are more complex in these regions.
Hernias in this area have a high rate of recurrence if repaired via a simple suture technique under tension and it is especially advised that these be repaired via a tension free repair method using mesh. These hernias may develop soon after the original surgery, or at any time thereafter. Incisional Hernias gradually increase in size once they develop and become progressively symptomatic.
A bulge may not be evident at the hernia site initially, and pain may be the only early hernia symptom. These hernias develop in many cases as a result of too much tension placed when closing the abdominal incision, as stated above. Tension creates poor healing, swelling, wound separation and eventual incisional hernia formation.