Hernias are of different types, and it might be hard to believe that nearly 2% of people in the world are affected by hernia at some point in their lives. A hernia occurs when tissue and inner body parts bulge out due to weak muscle walls in certain locations of the body. Compared to women, men are more susceptible to hernias. Similarly, infants and children are also more prone to hernias compared to adults.
Types of incisional hernia
We know there are different types of hernias, which are mainly categorised into two areas based on the area they form, the abdominal area and the groin area. The hernias that form near the abdominal area are also called ventral hernias. And hernias that form around the groin area are often called inguinal hernias.
A hernia that develops near the diaphragm (which separates the chest and abdomen) is called a Hiatus hernia.
A hernia that develops near the umbilical area (around the belly button) is called umbilical hernia
A hernia is said to be an Incisional hernia if it develops around the previous surgical incision.
It typically occurs like a bulge when the abdominal tissues or organs push through the weak muscles or tissues surrounding the incision. Incisional hernias can develop within a few weeks, months, or even years following the surgery.
Causes of incisional hernia
The scar tissue formed at the site of the incision from the previous surgery might not heal as strongly as the original tissue. Eventually, the area might become weak and tend to herniation.
Certain conditions, like obesity, pregnancy, and chronic cough, can trigger hernia formation as they tend to increase intra-abdominal pressure. Lifting heavy objects can contribute to incisional hernia formation.
The risk of incisional hernias can increase due to certain factors, like poor wound healing or infection following surgery.
Do’s and Don’ts after incisional hernia repair surgery
In most cases, hernia repair surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means the patient will be discharged on the same day of the surgery. However, in some critical cases, the patient will be under observation in the hospital for one or two days.
For a smoother and faster recovery, it is advisable to know what to do and what not to do once your surgery is over. It also helps to prevent recurrence.
Clean and dry the incision site regularly, as recommended by the doctor. Maintain good hygiene and follow any specific instructions for wound dressing to prevent infections.
Maintain a well-balanced and nutritious diet. It is highly recommended to eat foods rich in fibre and drink more water every day to prevent constipation. Drink at least eight glasses of water to stay hydrated, which also supports digestive health and overall recovery.
Some patients are recommended to use supportive equipment like hernia belts or binders, especially for abdominal incisional hernia repair, because they provide additional support to the abdominal area.
Take pain medications that are recommended by the surgeon to manage postoperative pain. If pain persists even after taking medication, consult your doctor immediately and avoid self-medication.
Resume your regular activities slowly. Start with light activities like regular walks, which will help with your metabolism. Avoid strenuous activities like lifting weights and running initially, and increase the intensity of these activities over time.
Never miss follow-up appointments because they are crucial in monitoring the progress of your recovery.
If you observe symptoms like unusual pain, swelling around the incision, or any other symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Certain activities are strictly not allowed to be done after an incisional hernia surgery.
Don’t swim for a few weeks after surgery. However, you can shower after 36 hours following surgery.
Don’t lift heavy objects, particularly during the initial recovery period, because it can increase stress on the surgical site, which may delay the healing process.
Don’t have sex for at least one or two weeks, particularly if you observe swelling of the penis and testicles after surgery. Ask your doctor freely when you can be involved in sexual activity.
Don’t do strenuous exercises or other activities until your surgeon says so. Your surgeon will introduce physical activity slowly.
Don’t smoke during the recovery period. Smoking tobacco can delay the healing process and also increase the risk of complications.
Don’t drive, at least for a week, because it puts added pressure on the surgical site. Furthermore, the narcotic effect of medications may still have an impact on you.
Don’t strain during bowel movements; it can hinder the healing process. Take your time or use stool softeners for free bowel movement.
Don’t soak the incision area in hot water for at least a few days after surgery.
Don’t drink alcohol following surgery because it can impair the healing process.
Don’t ignore the signs of infection like redness, swelling, warmth feeling, or drainage of pus from the incision site. If you observe any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
If you are suffering from an incisional hernia and looking for the best incisional hernia treatment in Hyderabad, consult Dr. Venugopal Pareek, a Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon. He has nearly two decades of experience in treating various types of hernias and is an expert in incisional hernia treatment in Hyderabad.