Underneath our skin is a much tougher layer called the fascia.  This fascia is responsible for keeping our insides inside us.  After an operation on your belly (open surgery or key-hole), your surgeon will have stitched or sutured closed the fascia layer before stitching the skin closed.  If the fascia layer doesn’t heal completely, a hole can develop allowing the contents of your belly to bulge through.  This is called an incisional hernia.

Will an incisional hernia go away by itself?

No, hernias will either stay the same size or get bigger over time.

Does my hernia need to be fixed?

The most common reason for getting a hernia fixed is because it is causing you discomfort or pain.  Some incisional hernias may be at increased risk of bowel strangulation and so may be recommended to be fixed sooner rather than later.  If you need your hernia fixed as an emergency, this can make your operation more complicated, for example sometimes needing to have a bowel resection at the same time.

What do I do if my hernia becomes strangulated?

If your hernia becomes red, hot, sore and swollen whilst waiting for your operation, the most important thing you need to do it to gently try and massage it back in.  You should lie down on a bed, push gently, firmly and continuously on the hernia until it pops back in.  You should do this as soon as it happens, as the longer you leave it, the harder it can be to push it back in.  If this starts happening frequently you should let Dr Hamer’s rooms know and your hernia operation may need to be done sooner than planned.  If you can’t pop your hernia back in (and you normally can), you should present to the hospital to be assessed for emergency treatment.

Should I have my hernia repaired with laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery?

Although most incisional hernias can be repaired with key-hole surgery, often a higher quality, safer and more durable repair can be performed with open surgery.  Every incisional hernia is different, and you should discuss with Dr Hamer the optimal method of fixing your hernia.