What is an Incisional Hernia, What it Feels like? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Any time you have to undergo a surgical procedure, whether for appendicitis, gallbladder removal, hysterectomy, cesarian section, fistula repair, gastric bypass, stoma placement, colon/rectal, spleen, or cancerous tumor removal, you stand a significant risk of developing a bulge either on or close to the incision. In fact, up to 33 percent stand just such a gamble. It is considered one of the dominant causes of complications.

Understanding What is an Incisional Hernia

Cutting through your abdomen means slicing not only through the layers of skin but also the muscle to get to the peritoneal cavity. Although the body forms scar tissue to repair itself it is just like when you patch a flat tire.

The weakness remains. When wondering what is an incisional hernia, you just have to think about the weakened patched rubber of the tire? Eventually, the fragile surface separates and forms a bulge as the stomach, intestines, or bowel protrude. Many women suffer this after hysterectomy or c section.

Wondering What Does an Incisional Hernia Feel Like?

When you stand in an upright position with your backbone straight and your shoulders back, you should be able to look down and see a lump. The lump manifests not only as a result of abdominal surgery scarring but also if you lift up something heavy that puts pressure on the fragile region. If you are wondering what does an incisional hernia feel like then you realize that you could experience pain or have no discomfort. Also known as a ventral hernia, it goes not heal on its own. You will require medical care.

What is Incisional Hernia Symptoms

You’ll notice a protuberance at first as one of the main signs. The occurrence might take place three to six months after surgery. As the weeks or months pass other incisional hernia symptoms might be disclosed.

  • Redness coupled with a burn-like sensation on the site of the excrescence.
  • Pain that becomes worse when squatting or bending
  • Discomfort while lifting heavy things
  • Severe constipation
  • Signs of infection such as fever, malaise, chills, sweating, aches
  • Vomiting

What are Incisional Hernia Causes?

The weakened area and the development of scar tissue are the primary causes. However, other incisional hernia causes include substantial weight gain, pregnancy, weight lifting, and strenuous activity especially during the window of healing. Thankfully, unlike other hernias, the odds of the location becoming incarcerated are slim.

Finding Out the Truth About the Hernia

Your primary care physician will have a firm idea of what is wrong when he sees your stomach up close. However, before a treatment plan can be drafted and implemented you will order further tests:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI Imaging
  • Urinalysis
  • Chest x-ray to ascertain the lungs are clear
  • Electrocardiogram (seeking arrhythmias, dysrhythmias, or palpitations)
  • Lung Function (spirometry)
  • Blood Panel Workup (CBC, Prothrombin Time, Basic Metabolic Rate, Hemoglobin A1C,
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, Glucose, Potassium, White Blood Count, Measure the Amount of Sodium and Electrolytes)
  • CT scan with dye contrast. The computerized tomography renders wonderful cross-section views. This is a good way to foretell the complications of the upcoming operation.

What are Incisional Hernia Treatment Options

The jutting tissue must be nudged back into its original location. The scar tissue must be cut or burned away. They place a surgical mesh in the opening to encourage tissue adherence and prevent repetition. Laparoscopic repair is the leading choice for most surgeons. It requires only half an inch to one-inch cut which means reduced discomfort and a rapid healing time for the patient. Open surgery is also common for large areas. Once repaired, the recurrence rate is 5 to 20 percent. It takes about three weeks before you are ready to return to work and normal daily activities. If you experience a recurrent hernia, then you will again require surgery.

What Happens After Surgery?

You should only be in the hospital a day or two. Most can walk immediately following the procedure. It takes three weeks before you feel tiptop and can return to daily life.

Even then you should limit the weight you lift. Even with laproscopic surgery it is suggested that you take a week or two vacations to recover

Surgical Skills Required for Abdominal Surgeries

Initially, you might not think about the skills of your surgeon, but if you want to prevent an incisional hernia, then you must do your research. The sewing technique employed matters when performing abdominal surgery. Nowadays, most surgical teams abstain from making on large incision down the middle because of the risk factors. In the old days, during a c-section, this was a common incision until the incidences of incisional hernias skyrocketed and now they make a smiling formation close to the pelvic bone.

Billing and Coding for Insurance

You have probably racked up a stack of bills for your insurance company. If you have any doubts about the codes, then call the hospital to discuss what all the jargon means. An icd 10 code refers to the condition and any additional numbers reflect the specifics. You can look up some of the codes on Google search engine, at the community library, or university.



Article References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK395550/
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hernias/incisional-hernia
  3. https://www.medstarwashington.org/our-services/surgery/conditions/hernia/incisional-hernia/
  4. https://www.mountsinai.org/care/surgery/services/general-surgery/conditions/hernia/incisional-hernia
  5. https://www.lincolnsurgical.com/abdominal-surgery