Muscles in the human abdomen serve,among the other things, to hold abdominal organs in place. If, for somereason, they weaken on some spot, a part of abdominal tissue or aloop of intestine can push through the muscles and end immediatelyunder the skin. This is known as hernia. A special type of hernia isventral, or incisional hernia. This type of hernia is linked tosurgery, as it happens on location of a surgical scar. It is knownthat up to thirty percent of patients who have undergone surgery inthe abdominal region may develop ventral hernia. On the other hand,umbilical hernia occurs at the navel (the belly button) and need notbe related to previous surgical procedure.
Symptomsof ventral hernia
In some cases, the affected person doesnot feel any kind of hernia – related discomfort and the onlysymptom that something has happened is the appearance of the bulgeunder the skin in the scar region. Pain related to ventral hernia canbe felt when the affected person is trying to lift heavy objects,coughing, straining while passing stool or urinating, or standing orsitting for a long time. These and similar activities exert pressureon the abdomen and cause pain in the region.
A more serious condition related toventral hernia is strangulation. This happens when the loop ofintestine that has herniated becomes tightly trapped (strangulated)in the ruptured layer of muscle. This cuts off the blood supply tothat part of the intestine and leads to severe abdominal pain, nauseaand vomiting. The strangulated part of the intestine can die off, orthere might be more serious problems. Strangulation is thereforregarded as medical emergency, a situation which requires immediatedoctor's attention.
Causes of ventral hernia
Abdominal muscles become weakened afterthe abdominal surgery if the incision goes through them. Intestine orabdominal tissue can herniate through this weakened section of theabdominal muscles if the person in question lifts heavy objects,coughs continuously, strains when passing stool or urinating, orsuffers from severe vomiting. Conditions that increase risk ofventral hernia include being overweight, pregnancy, diabetes, or useof steroids. Also, postoperative complications such as infection ofthe incision increase the risk of developing ventral hernia.
Diagnosis and treatment.
Typically, it suffices to cough. Thedoctor will be inspecting region of suspected herniation while youcough, as the hernia will expand at that moment. In some cases, exactdiagnosis will require use of computer tomography. Treatment issurgical. If possible, doctors will be using the minimally invasivelaparascopic methods to repair the hernia. Still, some cases ofhernia cannot be treated with minimally-invasive techniques and suchpatients will have to undergo open surgery. Type of surgery will bechosen after a detailed examination.