An incisional or ventral hernia can develop in the abdominal wall around a previous incision. It usually arises in the abdominal wall where a previous surgical incision was made. This results in a bulge or a tear in the area where the abdominal muscles have weakened. Incisional hernias can increase in size with time.
Some common symptoms include a bulge under the skin, coughing, pain when lifting, straining during a bowel movement or urination and prolonged standing or sitting. Surgical repair may or may not prevent a hernia from recurring. Hernia-like symptoms should not be ignored but addressed immediately, as they may develop into more serious problems requiring emergency surgery. Hernia contents may become stuck outside the abdomen, a condition which may develop into a surgical emergency if intestines become captured with resultant blockage or even death of tissue.
In the laparoscopic ventral hernia repair procedure the surgeon first makes a small incision in the abdominal wall. It is up to the surgeon to choose the location where there is minimum risk of their running into organs and scar tissues that were involved in prior operations. A few other tiny incisions are made as required, depending on the amount of scar tissue that has to be removed, and how well they can see the hernia. Then a laparoscope is inserted through a small, hollow tube. It is through this laparoscope and TV camera that the surgeon can see the hernia in the body. Other instruments are then placed through a few more incisions to remove scar tissue in the body. With this, a surgical mesh is inserted into the abdomen, under the hernia defect, and attached to the surrounding stronger tissues found in the abdominal wall. This mesh is used to reinforce the weakened part of the abdominal wall, and thus prevent the hernia from recurring.
The laparoscopic approach to both inguinal and ventral hernias has resulted in a reduced hospital stay and faster recovery time. Laparoscopic patients have no restriction on activity after surgery and most patients are back to work and pain free in 2 to 3 days after an inguinal hernia repair. Recovery time after a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is usually only about two weeks, much shorter than the standard 6 week recovery from an open repair.