What is a Ventral Hernia?

Ventral hernias tend to form along incisions from abdominal surgery.
If a ventral hernia becomes strangulated, emergency surgery typically must be performed.
Symptoms of a strangulated hernia require immediate medical attention.
A medical professional examines an X-ray for signs of a ventral hernia.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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A ventral hernia occurs in the abdomen, and is a fragment of intestines or other organs that push through the abdomen muscle wall. These most often are called incisional hernias because they usually develop along an area where an incision (cut) for surgery has occurred. Some people have ventral hernias that result right after a surgery on the abdomen has taken place and others may develop them years after a surgery.

Common symptoms of a ventral hernia include a perceivable bulge at the stomach. Some people may feel pain at the hernia site when they do things like lifting heavy objects or coughing. Symptoms may be very mild, or they can become greatly complicated and pose a medical emergency. If the hernia becomes strangulated this means it is getting insufficient blood to the protruding tissues or organs. This can cause very severe pain and some people will have vomiting or nausea.

While a ventral hernia always deserves medical attention, symptoms of a strangulated hernia require immediate medical care. This is a very serious condition. It usually necessitates surgical repair right away.

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When a person suspects a ventral hernia, he or she should see a physician, as mentioned. The doctor will probably examine the area, take medial history, including getting history on prior surgeries, and may order tests like x-rays or other more extensive scans. These tests can give a good sense of the amount of protrusion and the tissue or organs that may be involved in the protrusion.

There are lots of surgeries performed to repair ventral hernias, about 100,000 a year in the US alone. Most of these surgeries don’t take place under emergency circumstances, as many people will notice these hernias right away and report them to doctors. Surgery is usually the main treatment for the majority of ventral hernias, because they are likely to worsen if ignored, given the weakness in the muscles of the abdomen caused by prior surgery.

A couple of methods exist for surgical repair. These include doing open surgery on the abdomen to replace the bulging organs and to shore up the abdominal muscles. Some ventral hernia repairs can be performed laparoscopically, which is less invasive. One of the difficulties in repairing ventral hernias is that the skin tissue and muscles that have already been operated upon are weaker. Sometimes people have a surgery, and then require another one if a ventral hernia develops after the repair.

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anon150271
Post 6

i had four ventral hernia surgeries. now i have one more. doctor won't remove it. i lose weight.

anon147786
Post 5

Please see your doctor soon, for my son was having a pain in the bottom of the esophagus and it turned out it was serious where the cells in the esophagus' wall were inflamed and abnormal--and this is diagnosed as "pre-cancerous" Had to take strong medication and even change medication throughout the process.

But thanks be to God, that three months later, an endoscopy showed that the esophagus was almost back to normal.

Planch
Post 4

@Motherbear5 -- I really don't know, but I would think that the two conditions could exacerbate each other.

Best thing to do is to ask your doctor, he'll tell you what's going on.

googlefanz
Post 3

@Charlie89 -- Well, I haven't had a hernia surgery myself, but my son had umbilical hernia repair surgery, so I can kind of tell you what the procedure is.

First, they put the patient under general anesthesia -- that's the procedure for almost every hernia patient.

Then the surgeon has the choice of either operating laparoscopically, which means they cut small holes and operate by means of small tubes placed in the abdomen; they can also do an open hernia surgery, but that is much more invasive.

After surgery, the surgeon will usually put a sterile surgical mesh at the site of the incision, in order to strengthen the abdominal wall and -- hopefully -- prevent further herniation.

Charlie89
Post 2

What would the procedure be for a ventral hernia surgery?

And what would be the benefit of having one if you're just likely to get another ventral hernia the year after?

MotherBear5
Post 1

Hi, I had an ultrasound last week on my abdomen as I have been having some problems. This is the result: Superior to the umbilicus there is suspicion for a small ventral hernia. A small loop of bowel may herniate through a defect in the anterior abdominal wall. I had a ventral hernia repair 6 months ago and here I go again. What I want to know is how do I tell the difference between acid reflux causing nausea and pain in the pit of the stomach (which I am having) and nausea and pain that may be caused by the hernia? My bowels are also loose like water these past several days on and off. I talk with my doctor on Thursday about the results. Any input please? Thanks!

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