Ventral hernias are also knowns as incision hernias because they generally occur at the incision point of surgery of the abdomen.
Ventral hernias show as a mass of intestinal tissue bulging through the abdominal wall and can appear anywhere in the abdomen.
There's no specific cause of a ventral hernia although they frequently occur in patients who have recently undergone abdominal surgery and whose abdominal walls may have weakened.
The following factors may also pose a risk:
- Straining from constipation.
- Lifting heavy objects too soon after surgery.
Symptoms of a ventral hernia vary from patient to patient. For some, the only symptom will be a bulge poking through the abdomen that can be pushed back through the abdominal wall.
In other cases, the hernia site or abdomen may be painful or uncomfortable.
In the event of a sudden onset of severe pain or vomiting around the hernia or in the abdomen, you must seek urgent medical attention as the hernia could have become incarcerated or strangulated; both critical medical conditions that require immediate treatment.
A diagnosis takes place with a physical examination, a CT scan or an ultrasound of the abdomen.
A ventral hernia won't cure itself. As the hernia grows, surgery will be required at some point as the hernia can fill the abdomen and impact vital organs.
During surgery to treat a ventral hernia, the intestinal tissues will be put back into the abdomen. The abdominal walls will be sown back together, and a reinforcing mesh will be fitted to strengthen the walls to avoid recurrence.
Surgery won't guarantee that another ventral hernia won't occur at a different site.
If a ventral hernia is identified in the early stages, patient outcomes are good. If left untreated or if it turns into an incarcerated or strangulated hernia, urgent surgery will be required.