Ventral Hernia Repair

What is a Ventral Hernia?

A ventral (abdominal) hernia refers to any protrusion of the intestine or other tissue through a weakness or gap in the muscular abdominal wall. The term “ventral hernia” does include all hernias occurring through the ventral (front) side of the abdominal wall.

The use of the term “ventral hernia” usually refers to incisional hernias that result from previous surgical incisions on the abdomen. They can occur in approximately 20% of all conventional incisions used for opening the abdomen for surgery. They occur most commonly after surgeries for diverticulitis, abdominal trauma, or other open surgeries. The incidence of hernia formation is higher in patients who are obese or who have had complications from their original operation including infection.

Common Causes of Ventral Hernias

  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Chronic coughing
  • Heavy lifting
  • Pregnancy
  • Injury
  • Obesity

How do I know if I have a Ventral Hernia?

A ventral hernia can be a painless bulge in the muscular abdominal wall in most cases mistaken for umbilical hernia It can also present with symptoms such as discomfort, pain, bloating, or nausea after eating. It is usually easily diagnosed by a surgeon by physical examination. A CT scan may be necessary to evaluate the size of the hernia and the dimensions and characteristics of the surrounding musculature.
ventral hernia © Dr. Yunis, Center for Hernia Repair

How Serious is a Ventral Hernia ?

Many ventral hernias can be safely observed without surgery depending on the location and size of the hernia. Your surgeon can help you with choosing this option.

Most ventral hernias will require treatment due to increasing size or symptoms that are intolerable.

Even in ventral hernias that cause no symptoms there is always a risk of an emergency from the hernia. The hernia can cause an intestinal obstruction when the intestine becomes incarcerated in the hernia defect. Over time an incarcerated hernia can become strangulated when the contents of the hernia are squeezed to the point where they lose circulation and this leads to infarction (cell death) of the hernia contents. A strangulated ventral hernia can rarely lead to death if untreated.

Surgical Options for Ventral Hernia

Dr. Yunis offers all available hernia repair techniques based on the type of hernia and to suit his patients' needs. Techniques available for ventral hernia repair include:

Conventional or “open” procedure

This procedure involves an incision over the area of the hernia and the hernia is repaired by closing the muscular hernia defect and usually placing a prosthetic mesh material behind the area of the hernia. Incisions can range from a few inches to the entire length of the abdomen.

Robotic (DaVinci) Surgery

Robotic surgery has almost completely replaced the older laparoscopic option for repair. It has improved visibility and dexterity beyond laparoscopic and open surgery. Robotic surgical repair of ventral hernias dramatically improves outcomes in terms of safety and comfort for the patient. Complications and postoperative pain are significantly reduced with robotic technology and surgical experience.
"He and his staff are attentive and considerate of the whole patient and their needs."
Peter F.
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How Serious is Ventral Hernia Surgery?

While all surgery is serious, an experienced surgeon choosing the right approach will yield safe and easy recoveries compared to the past. Small ventral hernias can often be performed on an outpatient basis. Larger and more complicated ventral hernias often require an overnight hospital stay. Extraordinarily large and recurrent ventral hernias may require 2-4 days of hospitalization.

The risk of major complications in experienced surgical hands should be under 1%.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Ventral Hernia Repair?

Most people will experience some degree of pain or discomfort after the surgery that will delay returning to driving or office-type work for a few days. The degree of pain that you will experience is variable. Your surgeon is motivated to minimize this pain but it can be significant but rarely lasts more than a few days. Pain medications will be discussed and prescribed for you.

Depending on the size of the hernia many can return to physical activities within days or weeks of the operation. However, after the surgery hernia surgery recovery time may vary depending on individual factors and complications. Some larger and more complicated hernias may require avoidance of significant stress on the abdominal wall for several months.

Why Choose the Center for Hernia Repair in Sarasota, FL

Hernias can be painful, unsightly and even make it difficult to enjoy the things that are important for you. At the Center for Hernia Repair, we have a conservative approach that may even be nonoperative management. When we recommend surgery, we offer all options and are able to customize the solution to the individual patient. Dr. Yunis has dedicated his life to becoming expert at all things related to hernia. His anatomical understanding and technical expertise with conventional and robotic surgery is among the best in the world.

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Is ventral hernia repair a major surgery?

The extent of the surgery and its classification as "major" or "minor" can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the hernia, the location of the hernia, and the patient's overall health.

What makes a ventral hernia worse?

A ventral hernia can become worse over time due to increased abdominal pressure from activities such as coughing, heavy lifting, straining during bowel movements, obesity, aging, pregnancy, and previous abdominal surgery.

Will my stomach shrink after hernia repair?

The size of your stomach will not necessarily shrink after a hernia repair. However, depending on the cause of your hernia and the type of repair you have, you may experience changes in your abdominal appearance after surgery.

What can you not do after ventral hernia surgery?

After ventral hernia repair surgery, it is important to avoid extraordinarily heavy lifting and abdominal wall exercises like "sit-ups or crunches".

Most people's inherent strength allows them to lift things without injuring the hernia repair.

Can a ventral hernia come back after surgery?

While a ventral hernia repair surgery can be successful in fixing the hernia, there is a possibility that the hernia could recur after the surgery. The risk of hernia recurrence can vary depending on several factors, including the type of hernia, the size of the hernia, the cause of the hernia, and the patient's overall health. One of the most important factors in outcomes is the surgeons expertise and experience.

How do you sleep with a ventral hernia?

When you have a ventral hernia, it is important to choose a sleeping position that helps to minimize pressure on the hernia and promotes comfort.

What is the average laparoscopic hernia surgery recovery time?

Recovery after laparoscopic hernia surgery may take longer or shorter depending on the specific circumstances and consequences. The average recuperation time, however, is two to eight weeks.

What is the difference between ventral and umbilical hernia?

A ventral hernia is a bulge in the front of the abdomen. An umbilical hernia is a ventral hernia near the belly button. Both can be fixed with surgery, using mesh to close the gap in the muscle. Umbilical hernia surgery are smaller and easier to carryout than other ventral hernias.

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