Incisional hernias occur when internal tissue, such as intestines, liver, or muscle, protrude through a surgical wound or scar tissue from a previous surgery. When a surgical site does not heal properly, the surround tissues may be weak and allow for tissue protrusion. Incisional hernias are a complication of surgery and are most commonly associated with heart or abdominal surgery (such as appendectomy or laparoscopy).
Several factors can put you at risk for developing an incisional hernia following surgery. Poor surgical technique, infection at the surgical site, and poor wound healing are a few risk factors that patients may not have control over. But, there are several risk factors that they can control, including obesity, pregnancy, straining to have a bowel movement, excessive pressure from coughing or sneezing, smoking, poor diet, stress, and overexertion or poor lifting technique.
The following preventative measures should be taken to avoid incisional hernias if you are at risk:
- Always follow your doctor’s post surgical instructions
- Avoid overexertion
- Always follow proper lifting techniques
- Prevent and treat constipation
- Use precaution when coughing or sneezing in the weeks and months following surgery
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Reduce or quit smoking
- Follow a healthy diet to ensure nutritional adequacy
While risk factors can be minimized, incisional hernias may not be preventable. Incisional hernias can occur in men, women, and children from all ethnic backgrounds, but they are most common in adults. Patients should reduce risk factors for incisional hernias whenever possible as they are all best practices for general health, as well as hernia prevention.
Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., is a board certified general surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford performs surgical hernia repair for all types of hernias, including incisional hernias, inguinal hernias, ventral hernia, and femoral hernia. He performs open hernia repair or laparoscopic hernia repair, depending on the needs of his patient. His Boca Raton office is conveniently located for patients in the South Florida area including those living in Delray Beach, Pompano, West Palm Beach, Parkland, Fort Lauderdale, Wellington, and Coral Springs. If you are considering hernia repair surgery, call Dr. Shillingford for a surgical consult at (561) 483-8840.