Recent Abdominal Surgery? Watch for Signs of an Incisional Hernia

incisional hernia

If you recently underwent abdominal surgery, it is essential to keep an eye out for any signs of an incisional hernia. This type of hernia occurs when tissue or an organ bulges through the incision site, which can be extremely painful and potentially dangerous if left untreated. Whether it is a minor or major surgery, it is important to understand the risks of developing an incisional hernia and take preventative measures to avoid it.

What is an Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia is a type of hernia that occurs due to weakened abdominal muscles, usually at the site of a previous surgical incision. It can occur weeks, months, or even years after surgery, and the bulge may be noticeable when standing or straining. In some cases, the bulge may be more apparent with exertion or physical activity that increases pressure on the abdomen.

Causes of Incisional Hernia

Several factors can contribute to the development of an incisional hernia, including obesity, smoking, and chronic coughing. Other potential causes include improper wound healing, infection, or a weak abdominal wall. Some surgeries, such as those that involve large incisions or extensive tissue removal, may also put patients at a higher risk of developing an incisional hernia.

Common Symptoms

If you have undergone abdominal surgery, the key things to look out for that may point to an incisional hernia include:

  • Discomfort or sharp pain when lifting or straining
  • A lump or small bulge located near the incision site
  • Gurgling, burning, or aching sensations

If you have these symptoms and you have had abdominal surgery in the last year, it could point to an incisional hernia. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider immediately.

Treatment Options

The severity of an incisional hernia may vary, and treatment options will depend on the size and location of the hernia, as well as other factors such as the patient’s overall health. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the hernia and strengthen the abdominal wall. Other treatment options may include wearing a support garment or avoiding activities that put pressure on the abdomen. Your healthcare provider can offer guidance on the best course of action.

Who is most at risk for incisional hernia?

Incisional hernias can occur in any patient who undergoes abdominal surgery. However, some factors are known to increase the risk.

If you attempt to strenuously lift something shortly after the surgery, or exercise vigorously, this greatly increases the risk of a hernia. Pregnancy and weight gain are also known to increase the risk, alongside smoking, Diabetes, wound infection and older age.

It is important to understand the risks and be cautious when recovering from abdominal surgery. If a hernia does develop, getting it treated will ensure you don’t have anything to worry about further down the line.


It is essential to be mindful of the potential complications following abdominal surgery. Staying informed and working with your healthcare provider to take preventative measures before and after surgery can help reduce your risk of developing this condition and ensure a safe and smooth recovery. If you have any concerns about an incisional hernia, consult with Texas Hernia Specialists.