An incisional hernia is a type of hernia caused by an incompletely-healed surgical wound. Since median incisions in the abdomen are frequent for abdominal exploratory surgery, ventral incisional hernias are often also classified as ventral hernias due to their location. Not all Ventral Hernias are from incisions, as some may be caused by other trauma or congenital problems.
Traditional “open” repair of incisional hernias can be quite difficult and complicated. The weakened tissue of the abdominal wall is re-incised and a repair is reinforced using a prosthetic mesh. Complications, particularly infection of the incision, frequently occur because of the large size of the incision required to perform this surgery. A mesh infection after this type of hernia repair most frequently requires a complete removal of the mesh and ultimately results in surgical failure. In addition, large incisions required for open repair are commonly associated with significant postoperative pain.
Laparoscopic incisional hernia repair is a new method of surgery for this condition. The operation is performed using 3 or 4 small incisions and specialized instruments. The surgical mesh is placed into the abdomen underneath the abdominal muscles through small incisions to the side of the hernia. In this manner, the weakened tissue of the original hernia is never re-incised to perform the repair, and one can minimize the potential for wound complications such as infections. In addition, performance of the operation through smaller incisions can make the operation less painful and speed recovery.