What is an incisional hernia?
Incisional hernias are defects of the abdominal wall that develop through a previous surgical incision of the abdominal wall. The chances of developing a incisional hernia is related to several factors such as weight, age, over-all health, underlying medical issues, family history, size of the incision and wound issues that may have developed after the initial operation. The surgical literature has demonstrated that the risk of developing in incisional hernia is in the range of 10 to 40% after a mid-line abdominal incision.
How are incisional hernias repaired?
At this time, most surgeons would agree that repairing incisional hernias is best accomplished with using mesh. The type of mesh used is often determined by method of repair, size of the defect, the patients body habitus and the way a patient presents with the problem. The surgical literature has demonstrated clear and convincing evidence that the recurrence rate is significantly lower when incisional hernias are repaired using mesh.
The key to repair is having wide coverage of the defect. This is best accomplished using the laparoscopic technique. In fact, laparoscopic repairs with mesh for incisional hernia have been shown to have a lower recurrence rate, lower risk of mesh related infections and improved cosmetic results. Patients may also return to activity sooner and have less post operative pain after laparoscopic repair. Over the last decade, the trend in surgery is to manage incisional hernias in a laparoscopic fashion.