A ventral hernia is a hernia in the abdomen that typically develops as a birth defect or a complication after surgery. It causes a bulge or lump to form in the abdomen, due to a weakened area in the abdominal wall, allowing part of the intestine to push through. Usually, a surgeon can diagnose it just by looking at the patients’ abdomen. Sometimes, a physical or CT scan may be needed to properly diagnose if it is less obvious.
Most often, a tear in the abdominal wall due to an improperly healed surgical incision can lead to its development. Scar tissue that weakens or thins following abdominal surgery is the most common cause and can develop in some 30% of appendectomies. Sometimes it is a defect during fetal development and is present upon birth. Hernias may also develop as a result of pregnancy or age related changes that weaken the abdominal wall.
Anyone who has abdominal surgery is at risk for developing a hernia. This risk increases if the person is very active or lifts heavy objects before being completely healed. Pregnancy is also a risk factor.
Symptoms occur in the abdominal area and include:
- Sharp pain that occurs during sneezing or coughing; while jogging or running; and while lifting heavy objects
Typically, a ventral hernia creates a noticeable bulge in the abdomen but it can also be diagnosed through imaging, blood tests, or urine analysis. If abdominal tissue or intestines are coming through the hernia, or there is any risk of this happening, surgery will be recommended to repair it. This will consist of pushing the intestines back in place and then repairing the hole in the abdominal wall with a mesh patch. This should reduce the risk of another hernia forming.
Call (623) 423-0822 to schedule an appointment.